SLC wants residents to pay 50 percent for sidewalk repairs

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Every year, a group of Salt Lake City engineers visits neighborhoods to figure out which sidewalks need fixing. This year, they are in the 1500 East and 1500 South area, where plenty of sidewalks could use repairs.

Residents in that area say there's one problem: the city is telling them they may have to pay for 50 percent of the work. Though the sidewalks are city property, the city says each individual property owner is responsible for the sidewalks on their property.

Some of those bad sidewalks are in front of Don Athay's house.

"I'd like to see the sidewalks replaced, but I don't know about the 50 percent," Athay says.

This year, city engineers are looking to fix sidewalks between 1300 South and 1700 South, as well as 1500 East and 1900 East.

The area is in city Councilman J.T. Martin's district, so he went door to door Tuesday handing out information about the repairs. He knows times are tough.

"It's been a concern. I understand. I mean, right now it's the last thing [you want], to open up that assessment envelope and, ‘Oh, no. I've been assessed $200 to $4,000,'" Martin says.

Athay says he's OK with having a shared cost but thinks those who don't know they're responsible for their sidewalks are going to be furious.

"I don't think most people know that," Athay says. "They assume whenever something needs to be done, it will be done because we pay taxes."

Residents can protest fixing the sidewalks by writing to the city recorder's office or by going to a city council meeting. If more than 50 percent of the people who need sidewalk repairs protest, then the repairs won't happen and engineers will move on to the next neighborhood.

However, with all of Salt Lake's neighborhoods, it could be 20 years before engineers come back.


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Alex Cabrero


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