By Lasca Randels
LEESBURG — Council members want to make sure all Leesburg residents are aware of the Sidewalk Enhancement Program offered by the town.
During the town council meeting Monday, June 14, Leesburg Street Commissioner Craig Charlton informed the council that a woman was injured recently after tripping and falling on a sidewalk on Van Buren Street.
Council has repeatedly emphasized during council meetings that sidewalks are the responsibility and liability of the homeowner.
“It seems rather strange that we’ve had a sidewalk replacement program here in town for numerous years and very few people ever take advantage of that and I don’t know why,” Leesburg Council President Tom Moore said at Monday night’s meeting.
Charlton said three people have asked for paperwork with information relating to the program over the last two months, but it’s frustrating that more people don’t take advantage of the program.
In this program, the town pays for concrete that is 4 inches deep, 5 feet wide and 66 feet long, which meets ADA accessibility requirements. The remainder of the expense is the responsibility of the property owner.
“Here’s one point,” Charlton said at a town council meeting in March. “About the time someone has an accident, they will pay dearly. It might cost them maybe $1,000 to hire someone to come and put in a sidewalk, but that will be a drop in the bucket compared to what they’ll have to pay in liability and that is very unfortunate.”
Charlton asked Town Attorney Vern Landis if it’s necessary for town employees to identify hazardous sidewalks and notify property owners.
Landis said in most cases it’s obvious that the sidewalk is in disrepair.
“It just seems rather strange that some of the sidewalks that are in ….a few of the sidewalks you have to hunt real hard to find remaining parts of the sidewalk and the property owners seem oblivious to the condition and maybe it’s because they don’t know we have a program to help them financially,” Moore said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program may contact Leesburg Clerk-Treasurer Mike Searfoss or Charlton for more information.