Licking County News

City officials plan to take stock of sidewalks

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Pataskala City Council's street committee has asked the city's administration to inventory sidewalks to determine where gaps occur and improvements are needed.

"There are a lot of severe areas, and a lot of areas that need severe help," said Councilman Bryan Lenzo, chairman of the street committee.

Lenzo said the street committee discussed Ohio law, which requires property owners to maintain the sidewalks outside their homes and businesses.

"There are some areas that are hazardous, where the sidewalks are in disrepair," he said. "It's a safety issue, especially for disabled people. Some of the cracks are so deep that the sidewalks are really impassable on foot."

City Administrator Timothy Boland said city officials hope to complete a sidewalk master plan in 2013 that would "promote safety, accessibility and connectivity." The sidewalk initiative is part of the city's overall 2013 strategic plan.

Boland said completing a sidewalk inventory is the first step. He said city staff members will strive to complete an inventory in the second quarter of this year.

The next step is to adopt standards for the sidewalks.

Boland said sidewalks are not standard throughout the city. He said many sidewalks were constructed with different widths.

Pataskala has three downtown areas: the old village center on Main Street, Columbia Center and Summit Station, both on Broad Street. All three of those areas were developed with different standards, Boland said.

"We need adoption of a formal sidewalk specification or drawing," Boland said. "It will have to have an all-inclusive specification."

Lenzo said once the inventory is completed and the city determines which areas need addressed first, the city will have to find ways to alleviate the burden that repairs could put on residents.

According to the 2013 strategic plan, the city will contact "property owners with deteriorated sidewalks and (provide) them with a system whereby they can make the needed repairs or have the city make the repairs and charge the cost back to the responsible property owners."

The plan also includes a provision to "provide new sidewalks in areas where they currently do not exist."

"Sidewalks can weave the community together," Boland said. "What an amazing role that particular infrastructure can play. Bicycle and pedestrian mobility is such an important part of the life of a community."

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