Kennewick residents to pay for unsafe sidewalks

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Broken-down sidewalks have some Kennewick homeowners in an uproar. But they're not so upset about the state of the sidewalks: They're more upset homeowners will foot most of the bill.

Kay Workinger walks her dog every morning. She says in eight years of living on Kennewick Avenue, she's never once tripped or fallen on an uneven sidewalk.

"Well, I know where to look, for Pete's sake; no matter I am, I know where to look," said Kay.

She may not have had a problem, but Kennewick got a complaint that a stretch of Kennewick Avenue is unsafe. The city agreed. Now it intends to replace the sidewalks from Olympia to Carmichael - and homeowners will have to pay 75 percent of the costs.

"I really don't know what to say to people, because it's really scary," said Kay.

In all, 36 homes are affected. Repairs may be big or small depending on the property. The total project could cost more than $11,000, but Kennewick will chip in 25 percent.

Kay doesn't want to pay for any of it.

"I think it's just an attempt to satisfy us; I still think it's their responsibility," she said Workinger.

Other folks point to the root of the problem. Homeowners say trees planted by the city are the ones causing the trouble.

"It's still the property owner's responsibility on the maintenance of the sidewalk," said Evelyn Lusignan of the City of Kennewick.

If residents don't pay, they could see a lien on their home. Kennewick says previous repairs haven't had to come to that.

Three homeowners we spoke to have already hired local contractors to make the fix themselves. It will cost them between $1,200 and $1,600.

The city says it's worth the ounce of prevention, versus the liability if someone gets hurt.

The city tells KEPR they have no documentation that the trees were planted by the city.

There are no other parts of town that are affected and may be told to pay these fees, but if a complaint comes in, the city will check it out and make a decision.