Sidewalk repairs ongoing

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

LE MARS — Sidewalks in downtown Le Mars may soon have a new look to them.

That is thanks to a sidewalk inspection program currently being implemented by Le Mars Code Enforcement Officer Greg Smidt.

“I began implementing a sidewalk inspection program last fall, and at that time I worked on strictly the northwest portion of town,” Smidt said. “Rather than focus on a specific area of town this year, I think I’m going to focus on areas that see a lot of traffic — the downtown business district, churches, school, the convention center, daycares, those kinds of areas.”

Any sidewalk deemed deficient or defective will see Smidt send a letter to property owners, giving them a time frame to repair the sidewalk.

Smidt delved into what makes a sidewalk defective, which includes spalling sidewalks, raised panels, busted panels, and sidewalks with missing portions.

Smidt explained the cost to fix the issue, whatever it may be, falls on the property owner.

“Some of these sidewalks can actually be repaired rather than replaced,” Smidt said.

If property owners show they are trying to get the problem fixed, Smidt said he is more than willing to be flexible on timing.

“What I did last year, and I’ll follow the same trend this year, is I mailed the letters in the fall, and I actually gave them until May 31 to get the problems fixed,” Smidt said. “What happens a lot of the time in the spring is contractors get busy, and I understand that. If property owners call me to say they have somebody lined up or they are working on getting somebody lined up but it won’t meet the May 31 deadline, I’m okay with that. As long as they are in the process of working on it or they have already made the arrangements, as long as I know it’s getting done, I’m fine with that.”

For the most part, Smidt said property owners in the portion of town he has already inspected.

Smidt is hopeful inspections for high traffic areas can begin yet in August, but he said he wants inspections to be completed before winter comes, so property owners can be notifed.

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