CLEVELAND - Mark Murray is worried about the badly crumbling sidewalks in his Cleveland neighborhood.
In some cases, huge tree roots have lifted and cracked the sidewalk concrete slabs, lifting them more than 6 inches into the air.
"It's a very big hazard because we have a lot of young children who live on the street here and they're forced to play basketball and ride their bicycles in the street," Murray said.
Murray told NewsChannel5 safety isn't the only issued caused by the cracking sidewalks.
"It's going to bring the property values down, anything that they do here is an improvement. It's been bad for so long and the sidewalks are just ludicrous," Murray said. Unfortunately, homeowners are responsible for repairs and not many have the funds to get it done.
The city of Cleveland is well aware of this growing problem and is now launching a pilot program that will help residents make these costly repairs.
Cleveland Chief Operating Officer Darnell Brown announced the start of the 50/50 Hazardous Sidewalk Repair Program. $1 million in city funds is now available to help residents split the cost of expensive sidewalk repairs.
"You call the city of Cleveland, express interest in the 50/50 sidewalk program and we'll get information out to you," Brown said.
"It's going to start in wards 3 and ward 1. The reason why we selected those is because they have both ends of the spectrum. One is a significantly urbanized area, the other looks more like a suburban community. So we have both narrow sidewalks, wide sidewalks, narrow tree lawns, wide tree lawns." The program will be started in all other Cleveland wards in 2014.
The city of Cleveland told NewsChannel5 residents must meet the following criteria:
- The property must be zoned residential
- Adjacent sidewalk slabs have a height difference of 1 inch or more and/or
- Sidewalk slabs that have a large amount of surface chipping greater than 1 inch deep and/or
- Sidewalks with a large number of cracks that result in rocking or movement of the slab and/or
- Sidewalks that pond water, causing ice to form.
Brown told NewsChannel5 in some cases a tree will have to be taken down before a sidewalk can be repaired.
A series of public meeting will start on Aug. 27 to give residents more information about the program.
Information can also be found on the city of Cleveland website ,
Murray is happy about the 50/50 Hazardous Sidewalk Repair Program, but is concerned there are still many residents who can't even afford half of the repair costs.
"I love it, I think it's great," Murray said. "But the people over there are 80 years old, they could probably careless. They're kids are grown and gone, they don't have the money.
"The young couples that are here, those are the ones that you really need to get invested in. Maybe put it into their house payment, and stretch it out over 10 or 12 years."