Walkers using the sidewalks in Arbor Gardens should be careful of gaps developing between concrete panels.
There’s a growing issue in the Gardnerville neighborhood of Arbor Gardens, according to Town Manager Erik Nillsen.
The trees planted in the 5-foot landscape strips that probably seemed like a good idea when they were planted 20 years ago, have started to buckle the sidewalks in the neighborhood.
Gardnerville maintains the street and curb, but not the landscape strips or sidewalk.
“Although there is an easement over the sidewalk, it is private property and is the maintenance responsibility of the property owner,” Nilssen said in a report to the town board, which meets 4:30 p.m. today at their offices at 1407 Main St.
Nilssen said he and the superintendent of public works walked the neighborhood and found 42 spots where the trees had lifted the sidewalk above the quarter-inch allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
They spraypainted those spots pink.
“It can be expected as the trees in Arbor Gardens continue to grow, the number of noncompliant sidewalk sections will increase in frequency,” he said.
Nilssen acknowledged the town owns uplifted sidewalk near its open space parcels and said the town will need to replace those panels next spring. Fixing all the issues would run the town about $25,000, though that might require a survey.
Nilssen said he and the town attorney have drafted a letter to residents, but he recognizes that sending those letters will prompt a lot of calls to both the town and the board.
Doing nothing is the least expensive answer, but that will also mean the sidewalks will get worse.
“There have been reports of injuries to residents and these will escalate,” he said. “The liability for the displaced sidewalks rests on the individual property owner, not the town.”
Sending the letters will make property owners aware, but it’s likely to cause significant blowback and leave the town maintaining something that isn’t the town’s obligation.