Broken Sidewalks: Ormewood Park Does Not Suffer Alone

Streets in Grant Park have the same problem.

Dear Editor:

I live in Grant Park and this morning I read your article (Broken Sidewalks Build Pathways to Controversy, Feb. 8, 2013) about sidewalks in Ormewood Park — Grant Park's close neighbor — that the neighborhood association posted to its Facebook page. Ironically, this is an issue that my friends have heard me complaining about a lot in the last week.

On Feb. 5, I tweeted Mayor Reed and posted pictures of the sidewalk on my street. I asked him why we are funding a new Falcon's stadium when I watch women with babies in strollers walk my street every day to bypass the horrific sidewalk.

His response was that there are separate city funds for this type of repair. I was horrified to read that the city is sending certified letters to residents demanding that they foot the bill.

As I write to you, I am enraged more and more by the mayor's lazy disregard. The stadium situation is an issue I have been adamantly in opposition of since early talks of the proposition surfaced.

I live on Confederate Avenue and the poor sidewalks can be seen on much of the street and the areas around me. It is literally multiple times a day that I see women with strollers, people with dogs, joggers, etc. heading down on the street because the sidewalk is dangerous and inconvenient. I have attached the pictures that I sent to the mayor. He responded to me directly on Twitter.

Here is an outline of the transcript:

  • Feb. 5 [with posted pictures] "Today, I ask @KasimReed to portion the #Falcons fund to fix our sidewalks and get women with strollers off the street."
  • "@KarlieSahs no money that is available for repairs in the city will be used for the "Falcons Fund", we will fund those repairs seperately. [spelling error his, not mine]
  • "@KasimReed right- but the money for the new dome COULD go to repairs. you're a great mayor. ATL is a great city. the dome isn't a great idea"
  • "@KarlieSahs 250M to 350M for repairs is not a good long term solution. I appreciate your opinion, so let's respectfully disagree"
  • Feb. 9 tweeted the mayor the link to your article in the Patch "just reading this now. @KasimReed- IS there a fund for this, as you said? really? @GrantParkGPNA"
  • Feb. 9 [as a response to his missed last tweet] "@KasimReed I truly respect you and don't seek to exploit/argue. But there are so many dire needs in the city that money can be used towards" "@KasimReed I was appalled to learn this weekend ATL is mandating residents pay for sidewalk repairs. Very ironic after our recent exchange."

I'm horrified by the crooked politics,  deception, and disregard. I am from Chicago (speaking of crooked politics) and still have loads of family and friends in and around the city. A friend and I recently shared our sidewalk despairs. Chicago also has a growing sidewalk problem, but they are approaching it in a different way. The city will pay for costs of approved repairs, but it will likely take a lifetime to see your request completed. So, the city is offering a shared-cost program for speedier repairs.

In 1998, NPR's This American Life did an episode called "Mapping" about potholes/sidewalks/states of disrepair in NYC. In  NYC, claims cannot be made for injuries unless the needed repair was registered by reporting faulty roads, sidewalks, etc. A law firm scoured the city and reported every significant blemish, and subsequently sued the second an injury was claimed. Though the firm was in it to make money, it may have been the speediest means to have needed repairs completed.

Karlie Sahs, Grant Park

Jason in GP February 20, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Why single out the stadium? Things we are currently spending money on that are not part of fundamental, basic city governance: $250mil and counting for the Beltline $100mil for the Edgewood Ave Streetcar $8mil/year for a dumb Underground Atlanta lease agreement/mortgage $1mil for new security cameras $500k for (another!) downtown development study $50k for the upcoming Streets Alive party (these are just the recent news items I thought of - there is a lot more) If we want to talk about changing the laws to divert dedicated funding (like you would have to do so spend H/M tax funds on sidewalks in GP/OP), let's look at MARTA and APS (almost $1bil/year between the two). I agree that we need to look at other ways to repair our sidewalks other than putting the full burden on the individual property owners. But, I repectfully disagree that the stadium has anything to do with it.


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