City workers will tackle the job of removing rust stains from St. Louis Street sidewalks using the common household product of toilet bowl cleaner.

Ward 1 Alderman Ed Gass has been trying for months to convince the board to approve the time and money to remove the stains.

Gass said if the stains are not cleared up, the sidewalks will deteriorate causing a much more expensive fix than merely removing stains.

Alderman Mike Pigg has opposed the project saying they city had more pressing street and sidewalk needs than stains, such as cracked sidewalks that could cause falls.

At the Sept. 17 board meeting, Gass said someone had told him of the simple remedy of using toilet bowl cleaner to remove rust stains. He bought some and tried it on a small area on the St. Louis Street sidewalk and it worked.

Gass asked fellow aldermen to approve the low-cost cleanup process immediately, getting it done prior to snow when businesses will apply salt on the sidewalks, which would make matters worse.

The sidewalks were never sealed when construction was completed and they will deteriorate unless some action is taken, he said.

With Pigg still not onboard, aldermen agreed to have city workers start the rust removal project in sections and complete it at the discretion of the street department.

Some aldermen worried that the city was interfering with the street department work schedule, but Mayor Herb Adams said he wants some kind of time frame that would not impact other work. Each section is to be sealed as cleaning is completed.

Ben Boedges, street department supervisor, estimated that his department could complete half the cleanup over the next six weeks.

Adams said he will write letters to the businesses located on the rusted sidewalks, notifying owners what the city is doing and asking then to consider using Snow Melt, rather than salt to prevent sidewalks from freezing.