SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – When your sidewalk falls apart, it’s usually your city or town’s responsibility to fix it. 22News discovered why Springfield is fixing some of their concrete sidewalks with asphalt.
It comes down to money and safety.
Springfield is replacing a lot of their broken sidewalks with asphalt instead of concrete. 22News has received complaints from some neighbors in this Forest Park neighborhood about the appearance of the asphalt, a cheaper and less permanent material than concrete. The city says they don’t have the money to fix all their sidewalks with cement.
“We’re hoping at some point there will be some money available for us to go back remove the asphalt, remove the broken sidewalk and replace it with concrete,” said Mario Mazza, Springfield’s Deputy Director at the Department of Public Works.
Mazza told 22News they’ve been doing this for years and their top priority is safety.
“We want to look at the ones in the worst condition and we put down some asphalt to make them safe so there’s no trip hazards and people can use them without fear of getting hurt,” said Mazza.
This sidewalk in front of the house right next to the one recently replaced with asphalt, had new concrete poured about two years ago. A request that had been made seven years earlier.
Sarah Kane told 22News the concrete obviously looks better, but she’s mostly concerned for her kids’ safety.
“I have four small children. They run, they walk, they waddle, they move fast and sometimes they don’t look where they’re going so it’s better for them to have a smoother surface to walk on,” said Kane.
Mazza told 22News the city has been doing this on and off for ten years, based on their budget, but it may be more noticeable now since the problem is getting bigger. The city used to pay 50% of a sidewalk replacement, leaving the homeowner to pay the other half. Mazza says that program still exists, but the city doesn’t even have enough money to fund it’s half.
One person we spoke with in that neighborhood, told 22News he replaced his own sidewalk with cement, but is more concerned about drugs in his area, than what the sidewalk looks like.