The city of New Britain has allocated $50,000 to help people repair their sidewalks and if it goes well, Mayor Erin Stewart says they’ll keep allocating more.
“The city has has over 200 miles of sidewalks in town,”Stewart said.
She says the question “Is the city going to fix the sidewalk in front of my house?” is one of the biggest complaints she gets.
Under city ordinances, New Britain homeowners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their sidewalks.
“We know that it’s a big cost for homeowners to bear, especially when they have to fix very old and outdated sidewalks that have a lot of damage,” Stewart said.
The city is launching the Cost Sharing Sidewalk Repair Program to ease the burden on city residents.
They’ll cover up to $6,000 in repairs for New Britain homeowners whose applications are approved.
“Our city surveyor will go out and he will meet with the property owner and assess the condition of the sidewalk,” Stewart said. “We would like to help out who applies first and with worst conditions. We have some places in town that still have slate sidewalks we would like to certainly address those first.”
New Britain homeowner Roy Viera says he didn’t know it was on him to fix the sidewalk in front of his house. He thought it was the city’s responsibility.
“That’s why we pay taxes,” said Viera. “I want people to walk, not fall. I want our sidewalks to look nice, the city to look nice, make our house look nice, you know, just safety basically.”
The mayor agrees that it’s a safety issue. Especially for children.
“I think that having a safe pathway to get to schools for our kids is of utmost importance to us, and the city should be a partner with our homeowners and with our residents,” she said.
Homeowner Janet Chumra walks her dog on New Britain sidewalks every day. She says she’s seen dog walkers also trip and fall due to the poor conditions, and that she would apply for the help to repair her sidewalk.
“That would be a good deal that would help a lot of homeowners,” said Chumra.
Stewart said they’re hoping to help around a dozen homeowners in this first round of the project. She added that out-of-town landlords will not be considered, as the city wants to prioritize local homeowners.
To apply, you can contact the city surveyor, Mike Caruso, at (860) 826-3378 or via email at Mike.Caruso@newbritainct.gov.