Mark Hayward's City Matters: Sidewalk to nowhere
It starts on the curve of the Wal-Mart driveway, and then bends down Keller Street to a sheltered city bus stop, where it abruptly ends.
How did it get lost? My guess is it happened years ago. It was a cocksure glob of adolescent concrete, all wet behind the ears, and ran off as workers laid sidewalks nearby. It reached Keller Street and hardened, eternally stranded, far from its conjoined walkway kin.
About a month ago, Dumont was walking along the sidewalk. Like a lot of the sidewalks in this city (even the normal ones), it held a winter's worth of snow and ice — melted, refrozen and walked on. It was slippery, bumpy and hard.
"Mainly, it makes me mad," Dumont said about the ordeal.
Some homeowners and landlords — the respectable ones — do so. But many others figure it's the city's responsibility and wait for the city sidewalk plow. The plow makes it to residential areas about three or four days after a snowstorm, if you're lucky.
"The whole season, it was terrible here," said Leatha Potter, who works at the Service Credit Union inside the Wal-Mart. She spoke as she got off the bus to go to work. She knows Dumont and was shocked to see her with a black eye last month.
In a statement emailed to me, Wal-Mart basically agreed.
"Wal-Mart works to create a safe shopping environment, and this includes removing ice and snow from our property. We were sorry to learn that Ms. Dumont was injured near our store, although we understand it was not on our property," wrote spokesman Betsey Harden.
Her alderman, Pat Long, said the sidewalk is city property. He told Dumont to make a claim with the city's Risk Management office."The bottom line is, I think we ought to pay," Long said. "From what she said, there was 4 inches of ice, and it hadn't been cleared forever."
She lives on about $24,000 a year. She lives in a rooming house and lacks a car, a predicament she attributes to a stalker. She gets around town two ways — by bus and on foot.
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