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Recently I was walking in Old West Lawrence and came across a brick sidewalk renovation. It is located on the south side of Seventh street between Mississippi and Illinois Streets.
The orange color spray painted on many concrete sidewalks means the repair is the responsibility of the homeowner, and white spray paint markers convey that the city will take care of the designated areas.
I laid a brick sidewalk at 1146 Connecticut St. between the rear entry and parking pad several years ago. I know how much work is involved to get the job done right. When you add tree roots and uneven ground, it gets even more complicated. I sometimes see similar sidewalk renovations in the older sections of town, but not often.
The reason it is rare? The work is labor-intensive; it requires skill and/or it is costly to hire a professional.
Let me remind everyone, it is a state law that homeowners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks.
I applaud the current City Commission for addressing this problem that has been ignored for years. It is a divisive issue that garners little political gain, but is an important part of our city’s infrastructure that is currently not safe and an integral part of the historic nature of our core neighborhoods.
It will be interesting to see how the city and future Lawrence city commissioners address the deterioration of brick sidewalks. For now, the current approach seems like a good one: Address the concrete sidewalks first. We should all be able to navigate sidewalks safely.
Many thanks to the homeowner located at Seventh and Mississippi who is taking this project on for the many people who walk this stretch of sidewalk — whether they live in Old West Lawrence, East Lawrence, west Lawrence, Douglas County, or are visitors from New York, safe sidewalks are for everyone.