New budget calls for sidewalk repairs across Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The details on newly elected Mayor Lenny Curry's budget are coming out, and so far, Curry has said he wants to spend $70 million on capital improvement projects, with millions of dollars set aside for street and sidewalk repairs.
The reason for the push comes after years of neglect for sidewalks already in place across the city and the need for new sidewalks in places that are desperately in need of them.
That neglect is highlighted in the form of a list of sidewalks that have been set for repairs dating back to 2012.
Some of the sidewalks are so badly damaged that they are dangerous to walk down, forcing pedestrians to avoid them all together, and putting them into potentially dangerous situations such as being forced to walk in the road.
One man, who didn't wish to be identified, was so fed up with the problem and tired of waiting on the city that he went so far as to fix the sidewalk in front of his home himself.
"I like to live decent, and I like to feel comfortable," he said.
The sidewalk has been on the city's list of repair projects since May 2012 and though it's not the worst repair on the city's list, it shows how far back the problems go.
Also on the city's list of sidewalks are some that may look like they're in good condition but, because of code issues, need to be replaced to meet city standards.
The city is also dealing with sidewalks like the one in front of Kate Blunt's home, so overgrown with grass and vegetation that it can't be repaired and has to be replaced, which Blunt thinks is a waste of money.
"They are welcome to (fix it) if they want to, (but) it's not a problem. Nobody is ever out there on this side," Blunt said.
But Curry does see it as a problem and said it's something the city has not addressed in years. He is suggesting that the City Council spend over $1.5 million to fix those sidewalks and others.
Records show that more than 500 sidewalk locations, dating back to 2012, have been on the list for repair yet nothing has happened. Many of those locations are in city councilman Jim Love's district in Riverside.
"I think a lot of quality of life is having good sidewalks. Besides if someone trips and falls we would be looking at a lawsuit which will cost us more. It would be a lot less expensive to fix the sidewalk than pay for a lawsuit," Love said.
Curry's office said the council and Public Works Department will work to prioritize what sidewalks should be taken care of right away.
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