Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Help Me Howard: Busted Sidewalk
Sidewalks are great till they crack up and trip you up. And it brings up the question the sidewalk is in your yard a government agency installed it, so if it needs repairs, who has to pay? It's why one woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Susan and her sisters standing near a tree her father just planted in front of a house her parents just bought.
Susan Nylander: "My parents bought it brand new two weeks before Christmas in 1956."
Now dissolve from 1956 to 2012 Susan's parents have passed away, but its the same Susan, the same house, the same trees.
Susan Nylander: "I think it has some good spirits, a good house."
Susan still lives in the house she grew up in and those two trees, they've grown as well.
Susan Nylander: "It reminds me of my father. It reminds me of growing up."
Those beautiful mahogany trees provides great shade, but their also providing a major headache
Susan Nylander: "I've tripped, my friends have tripped. People walking down the streets with their babies and their baby carriages have tripped. Everyone trips."
The massive roots have buckled and busted up the sidewalk in one place after another.
Susan Nylander: "I will be out washing my car and someone will be hollering at me, 'Hey lady, why don't you call the county and tell them to fix your sidewalk.'"
Susan wrote a letter to her county commissioner to let them know of the danger. A county official said they were putting Susan on a list for sidewalk repairs.
"They said their is an upward of a 10 year waiting list to get your sidewalk repaired?"
"Yeah 10 years, when he told me that I thought he was joking with me. And I said to the guy on the phone, you know what in 10 years I might be dead."
Susan first complained in 2006. She is persistent and every six months she called the county again as she waited the six years, the roots have continued to rip up the sidewalk more and more each year.
Susan Nylander:: "Now the problem has gotten so big its almost like stepping off a curb."
Susan has tried to warn neighbors, putting a yellow line across the biggest buckle to attract attention. The county put some asphalt but the roots quickly pushed the sidewalk above it.
Susan Nylander: "And I don't know what else to do."
Well Howard, the sidewalk is on your property but put there by a government agency so when it cracks who pays to repair it?
Howard Finkelstein: "Each city and county has its own rules. In some, the homeowner has to pay. In others its the city or county. Susan lives in unincorporated Miami-Dade and there the county is responsible for repairing sidewalks."
We then called Miami-Dades Public Works. We were told that so many people have complained about sidewalks that the county didn't have the money to fix Susan's sidewalk for the past six years. But there is a solution.
The county has had allocated money to repair sidewalks at a nearby school. Susan's property will be included in that job.
Howard Finkelstein: "The county was told about this busted sidewalk years ago. If its not fixed immediately and someone gets injured, the county could be on the hook for a lot of money in medical bills and damages because they have been aware of this for a long time."
Susan Nylander: "I am so pleased that I woke up this morning and I hear noise outside of the house."
That noise because the county kept their word and quickly fixed Susan's sidewalk this week. They cut back the roots to hopefully avoid the same buckling problem again. Needless to say, Susan is happy.
Susan Nylander: "My daughter says she's going to put confetti in the air and say 'Thank you Help me Howard' and I agree 100 percent perfect."
Patrick Fraser: "Susan's parents have passed away but those trees her father planted live on. I cant imagine the memories they bring back every day when she walks outside. That is the true definition of priceless. Lucky for her and lucky for her neighborhood that her sidewalk is being repaired."
Someone busted up your piece of mind. Don't crack up, call us. We aren't great at repairs but we can smooth things over.