The Canal Winchester Times

Madison Township

Trustees take steps to set sidewalk repair policy

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Madison Township trustees say they're hearing residents' concerns about infrastructure loud and clear, and are making progress on several fronts to do something about it.

The township's sidewalk repair policy -- or lack of one -- was discussed at the trustees' Oct. 16 meeting.

Trustee Gary McDonald told residents that officials do want to establish a policy, "but it does take some time to get this all completed."

In particular, he referred to the issue of getting approvals required by the township that are not always applicable to cities, such as for a new sidewalk replacement policy. Those must go through the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office first.

Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst said the township has received many complaints about cracked and crumbling sidewalks but until a policy is in place, it doesn't have the authority to do anything about it.

"I've provided a draft sidewalk policy to the board which will need to go to the county prosecutor if you want to establish it," Brobst said. "One of the problems for us is that we don't have a sidewalk fund or a plan for sidewalk repairs, so unless we specifically damage them, we can't fix them.

"We've taken note that there are sidewalks in bad shape and that's potentially a liability issue for some homeowners, so that's why we want to put together this policy," she said.

Township staff members have been keeping a running list of specific sidewalk complaints.

Brobst said, with the trustees' approval to move forward, she would ask the staff to tour the township and create a priority list of sidewalks in need of immediate attention and then a second tier of sidewalks that need repairs.

"We realize this isn't the time of year to start pouring concrete, so if we get this list in place now and contact the homeowners, perhaps they can start putting money away for doing the repair come spring," Brobst said. "If possible and the prosecutor approves, maybe we can set up a fund to help out with those costs or possibly allow for future assessments."

Trustee Victor Paini suggested the township also work with local contractors to negotiate savings for both the township and residents for sidewalk repairs and new sidewalk installations.

"We need to make this an agenda topic for our December meeting," Paini said. "I'd like the township to help negotiate rates with contractors to get discounted rates for the residents."

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