By Vickie Speek
Smooth Sidewalks Are His Life
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- An Orem man, Ballard Gardner, 69, is seeking
a patent for a hand-held concrete cutting machine he developed nine
years ago to remove trip hazards from sidewalks. Gardner, and the
five-man crew that make up his company Amerex, has since cut or
shaved uneven concrete hazards from more than 1,000 miles of
sidewalks from Ogden to Las Vegas. The process greatly reduces
dangers to joggers, skateboarders, parents with strollers, wheelchair
users, and others who navigate sidewalks with difficulty.
Basically just a special diamond saw blade, Gardner's tool makes
horizontal cuts into areas of sidewalk that have raised more than
one-quarter inch above the level surface. The tool is cost-efficient
in both the short and long run because it is cheaper than pouring new
cement and can add 20 years of life to some sidewalks.
Amerex has contracts with several communities and schools and has
fixed countless sidewalks for The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, but Gardner's future was not always as solid as
the ground he walks on. "I didn't know how I was going to survive
financially," said Gardner of life before his invention.
The idea for the machine hit him while he was looking at a sidewalk
one day preparing to remove a hazard. "I figure it was an answer to a
prayer," he said. "Sometimes the answers don't always come when
you're on your knees."
Smooth going for sidewalk company
Deseret News 27Mar01 B2
By Stephen Speckman: Deseret News staff writer
Orem man's firm has shaved bumps from 1,000 miles of walks