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City's getting to the root of sidewalk problems - slowly but surely

By Bonnie Marrocco

With this long stretch of summer-like weather, many people are jogging and walking in Batavia. Some are tripping over sidewalks that are uneven and bowed by ever expanding tree roots and others are not able to use them at all.

The sidewalk on the east side of Fairmont and Norris was one such case: It was cracked and buckled several inches, making it difficult to walk on for most people and impossible for Marguerite Badami to push her elderly, wheelchair-bound father across.

"My father is a longtime resident of the area and I take him for walks every day," Badami said. "I always have to push him in the street because there is just no way I can get his wheelchair over that huge bump on the sidewalk."

The city is responsible for repairs to sidewalks that are inoperable and uneven, those which present walking and tripping hazards. If they cannot be patched, then the concrete has to be removed, the roots ground down and new cement poured.

Peter Corbelli and his family live in the house adjacent to the same sidewalk. We interviewed him a few days before repairs began and he said couldn't understand why the city hadn't done anything about it.

"It was in bad shape when we moved here in 1998 and it just gets worse every year," Corbelli said.

We left a message with City Manager Jason Molino on Thursday about the sidewalk problem. On Friday, he said it was scheduled for repairs this fall and that they were taking care of it.

Later that day, residents of Fairmont and Norris informed us that city construction on the sidewalk finally began.

"The city spent $500,000 in the last five years on sidewalk fixes and we're making this a priority," Molino said. "We are attacking the areas that are used the most often, then working our way out. We are getting there slowly, but surely."

Although the city is making progress, this is an ongoing project. There are thousands of trees here and many of them are silver maples, which have aggressive root systems that can cause serious damage to sidewalks and power lines.

"Batavia spends $25,000 a year on tree removal and another $5,000 on planting different species of less invasive trees," Molino said.

Brian Graz

Can someone tell me why every year the sidewalk repairs do not happen during the summer months while the kids are not walking to school? But rather right around the time school resumes [or shortly after] sidewalks in residential neighborhoods get closed for repair/replacement...

Oct 9, 2013, 1:09am Permalink

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