City Council eyeing sidewalk project to enhance public safety

City Council eyeing sidewalk repair project
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:20 PM EST
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio. (WSAZ) - In downtown Portsmouth, the lack of a sidewalk surrounding a construction site has city officials ready to intervene. The project to construct a hotel along the 200 block of Washington Street has been ongoing for years.

“I think it’s time to move on, just for public safety, to get something done here,” said City Councilman Sean Dunne.

Currently, the area around the site is filled in with gravel, which means there is no safe walkway for pedestrians. The Portsmouth City Charter states that property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their sidewalks.

“Well, it’s been a few years. It’s been tough because we’ve had a chaotic few years with coronavirus and it’s been very unpredictable,” said Dunne. “We’ve tried to balance the concerns of the developer and the concerns of public safety. At this point, we think it’s time to put in sidewalks to ensure public safety.”

There is a new resolution on City Council’s agenda. If passed, the city would have the authority to repair the sidewalk. City Engineer Nathan Prosch estimates a $26,000 price tag.

“I’ve reached out to the property owner several times and asked for some kind of schedule, but haven’t received anything,” said Prosch.

If the resolution passes, the property owner will have until March 1st to submit their own plans to repair the sidewalks. If that does not happen, the city can move forward with it’s project, but the cost will eventually fall back on the property owner. Prosch says it has been a frustrating process, but public safety has to be prioritized.

“Imagine someone handicapped in a wheelchair or motorized scooter. They either have to cross the street or go right up along the curb in the travelled lane. Either way, you’re mixing with traffic,” said Prosch.

WSAZ reached out to the property owner who does not wish to comment at this time.

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