City Sidewalk Crackdown Landing Property Owners In Court

(Memphis) The owner of  Marine Supply Company on Union Avenue was the latest to get a city citation to fix the cracked sidewalk in front of his business.

The city has tried for years to get the owner’s attention, but it wasn’t until the city pulled him into Environmental court a couple of weeks ago that he agreed to do the work.

That owner told us by phone the city sewer under his business is behind a lot of the problems, but he never received prior citations.

He did get the court summons two weeks ago and has now hired a contractor to do the $3,000 job.

“Walkability is the low-hanging fruit for making neighborhoods better places to live,” said Sarah Newstok with Livable Memphis, a non-profit working with the city to raise awareness about sidewalk maintenance.

She says there is a lot at play.

“Safety is a huge thing. We want to see people be able to get around to their neighborhoods, to their jobs, to their services, to their schools all safely. That’s the goal,” says Newstok.

Livable Memphis has created a tool kit that has suggestions for contractors, including how to survey your neighborhood and even a friendly letter that can be sent to neighbors who are in violation.

In the last month, the City has filed 16 civil warrants against sidewalk violators.

Three people have made repairs, and others plan to do so.

The idea is that once the property owners know sidewalks are their responsibility, they will step up.

“What we are trying to address are the willing and able, people who are willing to do it if they know it is their responsibility and who can financially if they know it’s their responsibility to do it,” said Newstok.

The city plans to take 20 property owners to court every month to get caught up on the hundreds of sidewalk cases that have fallen through the cracks.