Glen Burnie homeowners can replace walks for one-fourth of the bill

September 09, 1992|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

Here's the deal for Glen Burnie homeowners whose sidewalks look like gravel pits: You pay one-fourth of the bill, you get a new sidewalk.

People whose homes fall within the Glen Burnie Improvement Association boundaries will be eligible for sidewalk replacements under a pilot program the county is eyeing as a potential model for other areas.

The program will repave $50,000 worth, about 1,600 to 2,000 linear feet, of broken sidewalks in Glen Burnie. The county will pay half, the community group one-quarter and the homeowner the remaining quarter. The GBIA and county public works officials put finishing touches on the arrangements last week.

The need for new sidewalks -- some will probably replace those originally installed by the GBIA more than 40 years ago -- is clear, especially in Glen Burnie's older neighborhoods.

Shifting sands and decades of traffic have turned some sidewalks into roller coasters; crumbled pavement shows the toll of dozens of winter storms. "There are a lot of deteriorated sidewalks," said GBIA Treasurer Donald Gibson, who is running the civic group's end of the program.

"Any time you have a damaged sidewalk, you have a potential safety problem," particularly for the very old and very young, county Public Works Director Parker Andrews said.

Broken sidewalks are hard on the many senior citizens who live in Glen Burnie in two ways, he said: hazardous under foot and, especially for those on fixed incomes, too costly to repave.

By law, homeowners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks on their property.

"We would definitely be interested," said Elizabeth Edwards, who lives on Second Street S.W.

She said she and her husband, Robert, had talked recently about replacing their approximately 75-foot front sidewalk, a subject that has come up periodically for more than a decade.

To save a few dollars, Dave Bushman makes most improvements to his Wimmer Road house himself. He "might go for" the joint sidewalk-repair program, he said, depending on the cost.

The county pays $25 to $30 a linear foot for sidewalks under a contract with See Hane Inc. Homeowners will pay one-fourth of that, Mr. Andrews said.

The civic group will create a payment plan for those homeowners who cannot pay their share in a lump sum, Mr. Gibson said. The county has set aside its $25,000, and the GBIA has set aside half that much.

"I would like to see other community associations embrace a program like this," Mr. Andrews said. "It's possible, if this proves successful, we might be able to branch out."

Severna Park, Odenton and Rivera Beach are likely candidates, Mr. Andrews said.

The several-step program will begin with homeowners in GBIA boundaries contacting the association by a Nov. 1 deadline. GBIA and a county engineer will evaluate the sidewalks, listing sites for replacement in priority order. How heavily used the sidewalks are will help determine where they fall on the list, Mr. Gibson said. Then they will be added to the county's sidewalk list.

The association's boundaries are roughly Dorsey Road and Dorsey Creek to the northwest, Furnace Branch Road to the Northeast, Amberly and Aquahart roads to the south, Old Stage Road and Crain Highway to the southwest and Route 3 to the west.

The GBIA put in many of the area's oldest sidewalks but stopped during the early 1950s when developers establishing new neighborhoods took on the job, association President Muriel Carter said.

Homeowners who wish to have their sidewalks considered should call the GBIA office at (410) 766-6760 or write P.O. Box 214, Glen Burnie, Md. 21060., by Nov. 1.

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