Ferndale looking into sidewalk replacements

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 13, 2022


FERNDALE — The Ferndale City Council tabled decisions related to the approval of a sidewalk replacement program.

At its June 27 meeting, the council took up a resolution to approve the 2022 Sidewalk Replacement Program, as well as the bid award for the program.

The focus of the repairs would take place within the boundaries of Eight Mile Road to West Marshall Street, Woodward Avenue to Livernois Street, Eight Mile to East Hazelhurst and Woodward Avenue to the CN railroad tracks.

The total number of properties that were inspected were 1,956. The number of properties with deteriorated sidewalks was 634.

“The sidewalks that are in need of replacement are those that are out of (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance,” said Department of Public Works Director Dan Antosik. “They could have a crack, multiple cracks in them; they could be upheaved, causing a trip hazard; those sidewalk flags that have poor drainage issues, such as 25% … or more of that sidewalk flag holds water following rain; sidewalk flags that are adjacent to driveways, where there is a large gap between the driveway and the sidewalk flag itself; sidewalk flags that have deteriorated joints that cause a trip hazard; sidewalks that have pitting inside of them or scaling; and we assess those as we walk those sidewalks.”

Antosik said the cost estimate this year for the removal and replacement of a 5-by-5-foot sidewalk flag that is 4 inches thick is $175. The second-most frequent replacement involves a 5-by-5-foot sidewalk flag that is 6 inches thick. The cost estimate to replace one is $200.

The city heard from a number of residents during the public hearing who were concerned about costs and the quality of the replacements.

Resident Tina Louise stated that she had a piece of sidewalk that needed to be replaced and that she has paid a lot of attention to the repairs that already have been made. One constant she said that she’s seen is that some of the repairs have been poor in quality.

Louise also felt that people who are experiencing a hardship are getting a second penalty with the interest rate.

“The interest rate to me is like a poverty penalty,” she said. “Why are we charging an interest rate for people who already can’t afford it? That doesn’t make any sense to me. So not only is it helpful to hear that there’s going to be an increase in the amount of who qualifies, but I also think that interest rate needs to go away. That doesn’t make any sense to me and it’s an additional penalty in my opinion.”

The city is proposing with the program to increase the eligibility for household poverty exemptions.

The City Council decided to table decisions on both items to gather more information from city staff.

Council requested that City Manager Joe Gacioch and the DPW provide additional feedback on the Michigan Department of Treasury rules on poverty eligibility and interest rates, and asked the DPW to field-inspect the properties of residents who addressed the council during the meeting, and asked Gacioch to explore the feasibility of alternative funding support for residents who are approved for a hardship by the Hardship Review Committee in October.