Sidewalk condition criticized

A Beautification Committee member brought up the poor condition of downtown sidewalks again, this time during the Salem City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Jennifer Brown raised the issue previously during a Committee of the Whole meeting and during a Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee meeting.

This time she referred to a project to build a new sidewalk on the north side of East State Street from Wendy’s to North Cunningham Road and then across to the south side to both entrances of Walmart.

She suggested council consider using some of the money for that project to repair the sidewalks downtown. She said she understood there was a liability issue along that part of East State Street, but also questioned how many people actually walk there and said downtown is a liability issue, too.

She specifically mentioned the sidewalks around Liberty Park at the northeast intersection of State Street and Ellsworth Avenue, saying the parking lot there serves a lot of businesses. She also talked about the sidewalk by Goodwill on South Broadway off of Pershing Street as needing work and being a liability.

She questioned who’s responsible for the sidewalks and the curbing against the streets, whether it’s the city or the property owner. Mayor John Berlin told her the Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee should be able to get that information for her.

Committee Chairman Councilman Roy Paparodis said when she appeared before his committee, she didn’t ask that question, but it was his understanding that the sidewalk is the responsibility of the business owner.

Council President K. Bret Apple suggested that Paparodis look into that, along with the city Law Director Brooke Zellers and city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst.

Berlin explained that the majority of the money for the East State Street project, which is scheduled to begin next week, is coming through a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation specifically for that project. It’s not the city’s money. The city is only responsible for 20 percent of the construction cost and all of the engineering, which amounts to about $79,000. The state’s portion totals $255,000.

During his report, Kenst said the city plans to repair the sidewalk next to city hall on the Pershing Street side, but only after the replacement of dryvit (continuous insulation) on the north side wall of city hall near the roof is complete. The dryvit on that side of the building has been peeling off.

Kenst also announced that the streets department has used 300 tons of both hot and cold asphalt to fill potholes and make repairs to city streets since winter ended. He said that’s the largest amount used by the city in the past 25 years. The state routes paving project is completed, with just a little bit of painting left to do.

He mentioned the Salem Super Cruise begins with a revving of the engines at 7 p.m. Thursday and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday.

In other business, council held first readings on a resolution to adopt the 2015 tax budget which has to be submitted to the Columbiana County Auditor’s Office and on resolutions to have a 1-mill replacement levy for the city parks certified by the auditors in Columbiana and Mahoning counties.

Meetings announced included the Rules & Ordinances Committee at 6:30 p.m. July 22 regarding various language for ordinances affected by the indoor shooting ranges legislation and a meeting for Second Ward residents at 6:30 p.m. June 24. Both meetings will be held in council chambers at city hall.

A tentative meeting has been set for the infrastructure subcommittee for city council’s planning project at 5:30 p.m. July 17 in council chambers at city hall.

The next city council meeting is 7 p.m. July 1.