GREENVILLE – Sidewalks continue to be an issue for Greenville City Council to consider. On Tuesday, Safety Service Director Curt Garrison continued to look for direction after presenting an outline for an ordinance that would give the city direction in determining if a sidewalk would need to be replaced.
If adopted by council, the city would move a step closer in requiring residents to repair or replace sidewalks that are in disrepair. The city has already divided the city into 10 phases with the first phase expected to be completed in 2020. The first phase of the project includes areas inside Walnut on the west, Tecumseh on the east, East Water Street on the north to Fifth Street on the south.
Councilman John Hensley challenged some of the requirements determining a faulty sidewalk. The proposed ordinance would deem a sidewalk in disrepair if there was a difference in the slabs greater than a half-inch. “Is there a particular reason why one-half of an inch? The properties I have on Wagner Avenue, it seems like all of them are going to be replaced.” Garrison said they looked at several deviant possibilities and one-quarter-inch seemed “picky.” Garrison said, “It’s at whatever number we want to set. So that’s a starting point.” However, the city would have to abide by the requirements set forth by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
Hensley also argued there should be an opportunity for property owners to appeal the decision that a sidewalk is in disrepair. The proposed ordinance does have a section for appeals, but it is mainly for appealing differences in cost or the amount of work done. Garrison believes another area of the ordinance would address Hensley’s concern, but not a formal appeal. If they questioned whether or not a sidewalk was in disrepair, the city’s administration would go out and have a conversation with the property owner and explain why the sidewalk was marked to be repaired or replaced.
City Auditor Roxanne Willman previously suggested that assessments go no longer than five years, but Hensley believes the length of the assessment should be increased when the cost of the project reaches a certain level. Willman was unsure how that could be accomplished.
“We don’t like to bring legislation before council without their prior knowledge,” said Garrison in seeking to determine if the administration should continue with the project. A majority of council members expressed an interest to move forward with finalizing the ordinance and presenting it to council for a vote.
Council also expressed an interest in moving forward with a project to repair sidewalks and install conduit for acorn-style lighting on Third, Fourth and Fifth streets from Walnut to Sycamore. The city originally planned to do the repairs as part of a project to install stamped concrete on South Broadway, but council expressed an interest to install the decorative lights along the side streets. In order to make this possible, council members have initially agreed to assess the cost of the sidewalk repairs to the property owners on the side streets. If approved, the repairs, conduit and bases for lights would be installed this year and the lights would be purchased with funds from the 2020 budget. Councilman Clarence Godwin was the only council member to announce that he would not vote in favor of the assessment.
Council also learned issues with the Dollar Tree and the Wagner Avenue expansion project have been resolved and the city’s administration will be moving forward with that project.
Also, Phillip Pierri, founder of the YOLO Urban Park, expressed an interest to begin the process of deeding the park over to the city.
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