Sidewalk repair program extends into this season

A new program to help residents improve or install sidewalks near their homes was so popular last year, there were too many applications to finish, city officials said.

Department of Public Works director Bill Everhart said he hopes to be able to get all of them done this season and then reevaluate the program to see if financially, it makes sense to continue.

The 50/50 program requires the property owner to pay for the cost of materials to complete the job and the city supplies the manpower to do the work. Property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks on their property.

“We did this on a trial basis and wound up having 30 to 35 applications on the calendar that we didn’t get to last year that carried over to this year,” he said.

In addition to those applications, Everhart said there is probably around the same amount of requests that never got scheduled.

“So we have around 75 or 80 applications that we need to finish this year,” he said. “I want to complete what applications we have now on hand and then next year take a look at the program to see if we want to do it again or make changes to it.”

The sidewalk projects are scheduled around the Department of Public Works other regular duties, including street repairs and picking up yard waste, Everhart said.

At first, the program was available to any property owner, but was changed to only include residential properties after city Councilman John Reinhart criticized that the city was doing too many commercial projects.

Reinhart said the purpose of the program should be to help out older neighborhoods. Businesses should be hiring private contractors to do the work, he added.

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