City trots out sidewalks initiative

Need a sidewalk in front of your home repaired? Don’t have a sidewalk but would like one?

Give the city a call. They’ll provide the labor if you pay for the materials.

City officials are trying a new method to repair crumbling public sidewalks or install new ones in residential neighborhoods and near businesses in Seymour.

The sidewalk-improvement program was created and approved by the board of public works and city council for one year, city attorney Rodney Farrow said.

Interested property owners can submit an application to the Seymour Department of Public Works for construction of sidewalks or for repairs to be made, but they will be expected to pay the cost of the concrete needed for the job.

“It’s a public-private partnership because we have some people who want to have a sidewalk installed adjacent to their property and are willing to contribute the cost of the materials,” Farrow said. “The city would then provide the labor to install the sidewalk at no cost to the property owner.”

Maintaining sidewalks is already the responsibility of the landowner, but this program gives them an avenue to get the work completed cheaper, said Bill Everhart, DPW director.

The program is not available to local developers or contractors for existing subdivisions or new construction.

The idea is to get sidewalks installed or repaired more quickly and less expensively, officials said. Money that could be used for sidewalks usually is spent to fix roads, Mayor Craig Luedeman added.

Applications will be reviewed by Everhart. They are due by Oct. 1.

Work would be scheduled around the department’s other regular duties, such as street repairs and picking up yard waste, Everhart said.

“There’s six guys on that crew, and they are spread beyond thin,” he said.

Several projects are ready to go, awaiting city approval of the program, Everhart added.

Costs for property owners will range from $1,000 to $4,000 or more depending on how big the project is and how much concrete is needed.

They will be done on a first-come, first-served basis, with some priority going to sidewalks in the worst shape, Luedeman said.

He said he doesn’t know how much interest there will be in the program.

Everhart expects to start at least one sidewalk rehabilitation project in the next week or two.

“I’m sure there will be more come in,” he said. “Just about any section of town there are sidewalks in need of repair.”

The city council established a sidewalk fund Tuesday night to accept payments for the work from landowners. Those payments must be paid before work begins, Farrow said.

Luedeman said the program is something he’s been interested in seeing started for some time.

“I think it’s something we’ve been striving for internally for a while now as we try to figure out how to fix some of our sidewalk issues,” he said. “As our sidewalks have aged and money has become tighter, it’s become more difficult. So this is a good partnership.”

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.