Don't expect to see William Stockton skateboarding across the new sidewalk in front of his Northland-area house.

Nevertheless, the retiree who lives on Carolyn Avenue said he is happy the formerly broken-up pieces of sidewalk are level.

"They were pretty bad, pieces missing," said Stockton, who's lived in his house for 16 years.

Stockton is one of nine Columbus residents who recently qualified for Sidewalk Rescue, a city of Columbus program that contributed $550,000 toward the repair of sidewalks for residential property owners and small-business owners in one of six neighborhood commercial revitalization districts.

Individuals are eligible for $1,500 each, the median cost for sidewalk repair in Columbus, said City Council member Shannon Hardin. Such repair might be only a portion of a sidewalk, as the entire walkway might not need to be completed.

"We see this is a way to help homeowners who are struggling to stay in their homes or beautify and make their neighborhoods safe," Hardin said.

Hardin said members of the Brittany Hills Civic Association complained about the state of the sidewalks in their Northeast Side neighborhood. They seemed unaware they would have to pay for the work, as sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner.

"A lot of these homeowners were older and getting bills for $1,000," said Hardin, who added the work in Brittany Hills was paid for with dollars from Sidewalk Rescue.

If the grant does not cover the entire cost of the repair, the property owner is responsible for the remaining balance. If the city of Columbus completes the work, the construction cost is assessed to the resident's property taxes to be paid over a period of time.

Sidewalk Rescue applicants first must receive a violation letter requiring the owner to repair the sidewalk, which is done through routine code-enforcement or complaints from neighbors. Then, they must meet both the income and property requirements. Others can invite an inspection and apply for reimbursement, should the city determine the sidewalks need repair.

Eligible households must have a total household income of 80 percent or less of the area median income as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with adjustments for household size.

For example, a family of five with a $60,000 in annual household income would qualify for the program.

Stockton said he would have had a difficult time paying for the work. He said he's pleased with the look of the new blocks of concrete.

"They look great," he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary