By: Silvia Medrano-Edelstein and the Sidewalk Team, 3/18/19
Here is where we are: Our contractor has submitted 70 detailed quotes for the 100 requests for new sidewalks and driveway aprons. We are still expecting the remaining itemized quotes. Much like trying to renovate a 1920‘s house, we now have a more realistic snapshot of costs and remediation.
Included in the itemized quotes were some unexpected remedial costs to bring sidewalks up to current code standards such as removal of unsuitable earth and curbing. Many substandard sidewalks are the original ones from the 20s.
In some cases, the curbing added as much as $2,000 to a homeowner’s cost. A final inspection by the city, which would allow CPNO to release final payments to the contractor, would not pass a sidewalk inspection if an adjacent curb is substandard. A city inspector cannot “unsee” a code violation. You might not know this, but homeowners are responsible for property up to, and including, the curb.
CPNO President Dana Fowle has been pointedly discussing with our House Representative Bee Nguyen and our City Council Representative Amir Farokhi for any discretionary funding they might have. Recent meetings to address assistance for Candler Park’s sidewalks has us feeling cautiously optimistic about additional funding.
A quick history: In 2017, Candler Park was inexplicably left off a Renew Bond project to fix sidewalks. Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward benefitted from brand new “free” sidewalks, project managed professionally by the city. Candler Park was eventually given some $400,000 discretionary funding but dedicated volunteers from the Candler Park Master Plan team had to identify the worst of the worst on McLendon and Euclid avenues, as well as Oakdale Road. It was a time-consuming effort and the money only stretched so far to fix only the worst.
Since we began the Candler Park Sidewalk Project in February 2017, CPNO has now decided to significantly increase what it was going to pay to help subsidize the project from $15,000 to $60,000, possibly more coming. But, there is still a shortfall due to the cost of remediation and curbing at upwards of $54,000 and this may rise to $80,000 when the rest of the estimates come in.
So, we’re at a pause while our all-volunteer board members find a way to bridge the costs of remediation above and beyond homeowners’ costs to just pay for concrete, demolition and raising meters to grade per our original Sidewalk FAQ sheet. One neighbor is offering his expertise with more fundraising via grants. Another neighbor is offering his expertise with contract writing.
We are looking for more neighbors with expertise to help with a specific fundraising effort, namely asking more than 150 homeowners who got free sidewalk repair either through the city’s earlier project or the sidewalk committee’s 311 Magnifier Project that targeted city tree root impacted sidewalks, if they could chip in a bit. Even $50 from each of these households would be helpful.
This is not a simple project, especially for an all-volunteer board to handle. We are all committed to moving forward. If you would like to lend any expertise you have, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) . In the meantime, we’re still working on the many pieces to this complex infrastructure project.