PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket man reached out to 12 Responds with a problem: the crumbling sidewalks near his home force him to walk in the road with his two young kids.
“If your kids are walking on [the sidewalk], it is so uneven that a 2-year-old learning to walk, his balance is not accustomed to having completely uneven flooring and just takes a tumble,” Michael Coyne said.
The concrete isn’t cracking and disintegrating right in front of his home, however, but rather a little ways down the road in both directions.
Coyne reached out to the city’s public works department to see if they can fix the sidewalks, but found out that if residents want that done, they have to cover half the cost. Pawtucket has a 50-50 program where the cost is split between the resident and the city.
There’s also a $75 application fee.
Residents can choose to pay for the full project on their own, according to Mayor Don Grebien. He said the program started in the 1990s and has since grown in popularity.
“The city doesn’t have to dollars to do all the sidewalks,” he explained. “We do on emergencies and those types of things.”
The city estimates it would cost an average of $7,500 to replace 50 feet of concrete sidewalk, including the curb, meaning the resident would have to put up nearly $3,800 with the application fee.
“In a perfect world, with the taxes we collect, I would love to be able to fix every sidewalk, every curb, but it’s not the reality,” Grebien added.
The mayor’s office said it receives 40 to 50 applications for the sidewalk program each year, and 20 to 30 get fixed. Those still on the waiting list get rolled over to the following year.
But for Coyne doesn’t believe the program is fair.
“Some people don’t have thousands of dollars or whatever it might be just to replace their sidewalk,” he said. “Everyone pays their taxes.”
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