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Published: Tuesday, 3/26/2013

City offers $350,000 for sidewalk repairs, rebuilding

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The city of Toledo has less money this year to replace sidewalks than in 2012, but plans to save money by leveling more concrete panels rather than replacing those shifted by tree roots.

Robin Whitney, commissioner of engineering services, said the city started a pilot program for leveling sidewalks in 2011 after copying a similar program in Sylvania.

“We incorporated it into our replacement program in 2012 and we will fix sidewalks based on what is the right solution,” Ms. Whitney said. “The leveling cost is about 30 percent of normal replacement. ... We saved about $750,000 between 2011 and 2012 by leveling instead of replacing.”

This year, the Bell administration is asking Toledo City Council to approve $350,000 for sidewalk replacement and leveling.

“Last year, I got $800,000 and in 2011, I only had $300,000,” Ms. Whitney said. “Normally, we want to get $800,000 to $1 million a year and if I can't get that much because the money is not there, that is why the leveling is so important.”

Council will review the funding request at its agenda review meeting today.

The city’s capital improvement plan allocates $325,000 for the homeowner-assessed reconstruction and $350,000 for the city’s cost to repair sidewalks raised by tree roots.

“It is necessary to perform both city responsibility and property-owner assessed sidewalks together in this program since the repairs are completed in conjunction with one another,” the legislation said.

Leveling is done by drilling holes in strategic spots so crews can pump a cement slurry below sidewalk panels.

“It is only going to work in locations where [the damage] is not too extreme,” Ms. Whitney said.

Councilman Mike Craig, who represents East Toledo and parts of South Toledo, said there are many locations that need repair.

“If you walk through Birmingham ... there are a ton of sidewalks that need repair,” Mr. Craig said. “We have a lot of old trees growing between the sidewalk and curb and they push up the sidewalk all over the place.”

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.



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