Property owners in the city of Bexley will assume all future costs to construct, repair or replace public sidewalks that abut their property, according to an amended ordinance passed by Bexley City Council July 8.
Further plans to regulate inspection policies and procedures and notification of property owners will be established and maintained by the service director, according to the ordinance.
Service Director William Harvey recognizes that the standards for maintenance will border on subjectivity.
"I like to think our sidewalks will continually get better," said Harvey at the July 8 city council meeting. "I’m not saying that the standards will stay the same. I think our level of leniency should continually reduce. What is considered safe today might not be safe in five years due to public feedback."
Harvey cited the example that a one-inch gap in the sidewalk might pass as okay now, but meet disapproval later.
"I’m not saying arbitrarily that the city isn’t paying any more, so increase the standards. I do think that there should be an effort to continuously improve the infrastructure over time-roads, streets, sidewalks-but, there will be some subjectivity," said Harvey.
Before the city imparts the monetary responsibility to the residents to maintain the sidewalks, it intends to replace all of the sidewalks, in hopes of finishing by the end of the year, if possible.
City Auditor Larry Heiser feels that with the cost of construction on the rise, "If we can do as much as quickly as possible, the better off we’ll be."
Harvey hopes to put together a bid packet within the next week or two, secure a bid, and begin construction by mid-August.
The project will be completed in thirds, beginning with north Bexley and continuing with central and south Bexley.
The estimate to complete north Bexley amounts to $500,000 to the city. Harvey tripled that number for a rough total of about $1.5 million for the entire project, though the accurate total is yet to be determined.
"Right now we don’t really know what this is going to cost," said Harvey. "We need to walk the streets."
In other news, the city will also repair damages to the Broad Street and Gould Road gateway entrance.
The gateway, constructed at no charge to the city, endured damages caused by errant drivers.
One of the drivers was apprehended and charged for repairs, while the second driver remains anonymous, therefore, the city will be charged with $3,500 worth of damages that it could not collect through insurance.