Who's responsible for sidewalk repair? "It depends"

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Becky Kupsky-Gross' front yard is still a mess after a water main break in February.

“I called the city and I get told, first time I was told everything would be taken care of, the road the sidewalk everything by the end of July. It's the middle of October,” said Kupsky-Gross.

She's been told it's not her responsibility to fix but keeps getting mixed messages about who will make the repairs.

“They kept telling me when I would call, 'Oh, the water department is responsible for that. Oh, public works is responsible for it,'” said Kupsky-Gross.

Public Works Director Steve Grenier says it depends on the situation.

The water utility could be responsible for sidewalk damage caused by water mains and part of the pipes coming off of them, but homeowners can also be on the hook.

“From the curb stop to the house is actually owned by the property owner, and if something is damaged there and you have to cross the sidewalk then it becomes the property owner's responsibility,” said Grenier.

Grenier says typically the homeowner is responsible to make repairs caused by weather and normal wear and tear.

The city will take care of a sidewalk if damage is caused by a tree the city planted in the terrace.

Anyone can file a complaint with the city to get a sidewalk repaired no matter how the damage was done.

A list of damaged sidewalks is compiled once a year and the city council has to sign off on the work.

“Resolution goes through council it identifies the property, property owner, how much the length of sidewalk that needs to be repaired, and whether or not there is a credit given back to the property owner, and that credit would reflect sidewalk that is in need of repair that's the city's responsibility,” said Greiner.

Once the resolution is approved by council, the property owner has 60 days to make the repair or the city will make the repair and bill the property owner accordingly.

In Kupsky-Gross’ case, she’s just hoping no one gets hurt because of the uneven sidewalk.

“We have people parking on the side of the road, we got basically a one lane road here and it’s just an accident waiting to happen. The sidewalk is uneven, it’s a liability waiting to happen and I don’t want to be responsible for that.”

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