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Crumbling wall: Who should pay to fix it?


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SALT LAKE CITY -- If you head up to the State Capitol on State Street, you'll surely see a dilapidated wall. It needs to be fixed--soon--but who should pay for it?

Neighbors say the historic wall is on city property and Salt Lake City should foot the bill, but the city says it has done its own research and can prove that's not true.

The 10-foot high wall is on the east side of State Street and is more than 100 years old. VerLee Storms owns the home above the crumbling State Street wall. She said, "Sometime in January came out, and it all crumbled."

She wants it fixed, and so do her neighbors. "It's dangerous. People have to go on the road ... They go on the parking strip, others go out on the street," said neighbor Charlene Booth. Booth says this proves it's on city land. She said, "This is an old survey pin from 106 years ago or more."

She also says according to old photos and state documents she has, the wall is on city property, and they should pay to fix it.

Karen Hale, with the Salt Lake City Mayor's Office, said, "It will get fixed, yes."

According to the mayor's office, in the late 1890s the owner of the home asked a wall be built after the city dropped the road 10 feet to create State Street. Hale said, "The request was made for city to take on that wall, and the city denied that request." That's why, Hale says, it's not the city's wall to fix and pay for now, but it will.

"The issue of ownership remains to be found, but what the city has decided is we will fix the wall and afterwards we will sort out the responsibility," Hale said.

VerLee and her disabled son hope the responsibility lies with the city, not her. She said, "I can't do it. Why? I don't have any money!"

The city promises that even when the wall is fixed, they'll dig as deep as they need to, to figure out what's fair. Hale said, "We're still going to make every effort to research the responsibility issue."

It'll cost around $50,000 to fix the wall. A city engineer has come and looked at VerLee's home, and the house is not in danger of falling

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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Amanda Butterfield

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