Grove City Council is expected to soon consider legislation that will split the cost of replacing sidewalks between the city and property owners.
At council's regular meeting on Monday, March 4, the city administration discussed adding a sidewalk replacement incentive component to the city's street program.
Under city code, property owners are responsible for the cost of repairs and maintaining sidewalk, but if the new program is approved by council, the city would share the cost 50-50 with property owners.
"What we've talked about is a five-phase sidewalk replacement program," said Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage. "This is something we've been talking about six years minimum. ... We know some people need some help with the funding."
For this year's budget, Stage said, the city has already set aside $200,000 for this effort. Stage added the program likely would be over a five-year period, phased to cover different parts of town each year.
"We're going to be focusing on different neighborhoods," he said.
The plan, Stage said, would be to start this year in the area by J.C. Sommer Elementary School.
City Law Director Stephen Smith said while nothing is finalized until council passes it, the property owners likely will have the option of pursuing the sidewalk repairs and replacement themselves and be compensated by the city, or allow the city to do the work on their behalf and pay the fee over 20 years as part of their property taxes.
Because the city would be funding the project itself, there would be no interest on the payments.
The final determination of the arrangement will depend on what council ultimately passes, Smith said, but the owners will be responsible if the city pursues it.
"They'll have to do it," he said.
Council will first have to authorize an assessment of the properties and after that is done a resolution to move forward with the program.
At that time, affected property owners will be sent notification letters.
"It is a safety issue," said Council President Ted Berry. "If we wait for the property owners to do it, it'll never happen."
Council is expected to vote on the assessment authorization at its next meeting, scheduled for Monday, March 18.