In Your Corner: Dangerous Sidewalk

By Ryan Elijah

August 27, 2010 Updated Aug 27, 2010 at 9:22 AM EDT

At first glance, it's a front yard, but a closer look shows it's in fact a sidewalk, or at least was at one time.

"it's so bad you can't shovel in the Winter", said Ralph Bean, neighborhood resident.

Bean lives off the main artery heading East out of downtown, East Jefferson and Maumee. His street is one block down from Memorial Park Middle School. He says he's been trying for over a decade to see the sidewalk fixed, because he feels it isn't safe for bike riders or students.

"often you'll see people riding bikes on the street and in the Winter, kids walk in the street, someone is going to get hurt", said Bean.

The city told us they've received complaints about Maumee, but not at that location. Sidewalk complaints are common and are returned with a letter, stating that an inspector will be sent, but that it's the owners responsibility to make sure the sidewalk is safe.

"it is spelled out in our ordinance, dating back to 1974, that it is the owner that is responsible for a sidewalk abutting to their property",said Frank Suarez with the City of Fort Wayne.

Residents also have an option of petitioning the city through the Barrett Law Process to have the repairs done for 60% of the estimated cost. Last year, Walk Fort Wayne was created including a sidewalk team designed to find populated areas of town where new sidewalks are needed. Over 1000 feet of new sidewalk on South Anthony is the first project completed out of eight that were targeted.

As for Ralph's situation, he was informed recently by a city worker that homeowners would be responsible for the repairs. In the case of Maumee, the sidewalks are decades old and were done at a time when construction standards aren't what they are now. It's an example of a growing problem for city officials, dealing with areas of infrastructure and sidewalks that are more than showing their age.

If you have a complaint about a sidewalk's condition, the city recommends you call the 311 hotline.

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