Property owners still must repair sidewalks

By Joyce F. Nowell Gannett reporter

When Greencastle officials in early 2019 put a hold on a program requiring the installation of new sidewalks, that didn’t mean property owners were off the hook for the repairs of existing walkways.

A 2011 ordinance aimed at making Greencastle a pedestrian-friendly community mandated construction of sidewalks and curbs in new developments and some areas where they didn’t already exist.

A repair and maintenance program also was initiated on a five-year inspection cycle.

The initiative has been controversial.

In January 2019, as the final wave of the plan to make Greencastle a walkable community was beginning, the program for new construction was deferred by borough council action.

But making repairs and maintaining existing sidewalks remain the responsibility of landowners. Those requirements are continuing to be enforced.

“New installation is on hold, but we’re still following through with our maintenance program,” Borough Manager Lorraine Hohl said.

Officials believe there might be confusion, since 23 property owners didn’t complete repairs ordered in the 2018 round of maintenance inspections. That required maintenance was to have been completed by Oct. 31, 2019.

“Twenty-three is pretty significant,” borough Public Works Manager Bob Manahan said.

In light of the situation, Hohl said those who have yet to complete the work will get an extension until May 31.

Hohl added that the notices are being issued for repairs flagged in 2019, with a completion deadline at the end of October.

The ordinance has become more contentious in the past few years because town officials sidelined some areas previously identified for new sidewalks to provide time for infrastructure improvements. That caused a public outcry from those who already have complied by installing new sidewalks.