State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Damaged Sidewalks May Cost Homeowners Big Bucks

by on June 06, 2015 2:00 PM

Home repairs are one of those never-ending -- and costly -- facts of life for any property owner.

And for hundreds of State College residents, a new expense may be lurking just outside your front door.

And it could cost you hundreds of bucks.

We're talking about a bumper crop of damaged sidewalks. Recent inspections turned up more than 1,300 sections of sidewalk that are cracked, buckled or somehow broken.

The trouble areas are in the southeast section of State College.

"We have the residential area broken up into four areas so once every four years one area gets inspected," says Mark Whitfield, the borough's public works director. "It's been five years since this particular area has been done and the area for this year involved Tussey view, the [State College] South neighborhood and Nittany Hills East neighborhood."

Over 500 letters are being sent to residents and business owners telling them to repair their sidewalks.

Some property owners don't see why they get stuck with the bill. They point to trees that were planted by the borough that push up the sidewalks and cause damages. Why isn't that the borough's problem?

"It's not so much the borough's tree although it's within the right-of-way and we maintain it," says Whitfield. "It's still their responsibility to fix the sidewalk regardless of whose tree it is."

Homeowners can either choose to repair the sidewalk themselves or have the borough fix it. But if the borough does the work your bill could be extra steep.

"If you have an average five-by-five sidewalk block that is four inches thick I think it comes out to around $330 it would cost you to repair that sidewalk block," says Whitfield. "Plus we tack 10 percent on for inspection and dealing with the sidewalk block itself so that comes out to $360. So really it's advantageous for the home owner to find somebody else that would do this for cheaper."

Homeowners have till mid-September to get the sidewalk fixed or the borough will step in and fix it.

If you have questions about sidewalk repairs you can call (814) 234-7140, or click HERE for more information.

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Abhar Shah is an intern with StateCollege.com. A senior broadcast journalism major at Penn State University Shah is part of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Abhar is also involved with THON and the Penn State Cricket team.
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