Paxtang residents battle over sidewalk repair - abc27 WHTM

Paxtang residents battle borough-owned trees uprooting sidewalks

Paxtang residents battle over sidewalk repair

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Felicia Lewis is stuck between a root and a hard place.

"That's like throwing money out the window," she said standing in front of her Paxtang home.

She's talking about sidewalk repair.

"Right now estimates range from $4,000 and $8,000 dollars," she said.

In May, borough residents received a letter that said they had six months to fix sidewalks in front of their homes. Those same residents are now noting that it's borough-owned trees that caused the issue.

Many say they understand the need for safe sidewalks, and maybe even the high-cost repairs, but with the borough unable to afford addressing the issue of their growing trees and their roots, homeowners fear the same pricey problem will sprout up again.

Lewis points out a place just up the street as proof. The son of that homeowner says that they replaced their sidewalks within the past five years. Now, roots have raised them up again and they have been marked by the borough as needing repair.

"This is telling them they have to do it again," said Lewis, pointing out the pink arrows on the pavement.

In 2011, before she purchased her 31st Street home. Lewis inquired about this issue and was told, "they currently do not hold homeowners responsible for sidewalk repairs caused by root growth."

At that time there was no ordinance in place that addressed sidewalk maintenance. Now there is.

The tricky part is what to do about the beautiful, established, and possibly treacherous trees. The borough has no immediate plan to remove or modify them and residents are not permitted to do so themselves.

"We can go ahead and we can get the sidewalks done but in a couple of years these trees are going to continue to grow and the roots are going to lift the sidewalk again," added Lewis.

The borough did tell Lewis that they are willing to remove one of the large trees in front of her property. She was told it was because of an issue with a gas line, not the sidewalk.

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