8 Investigates

Neglected, uneven sidewalk surrounding Richmond school to be replaced after classes begin

It could be easy to take a tumble on the sidewalk that lines North Stafford Street surrounding Fox Elementary School. The sidewalk is marred by crooked concrete and uneven pavement.

"It's a little bit of a tripping hazard,” say Elliott Hartz, who lives across the street. 

8News first pointed out the problem pathway back in November. We measured an 8-inch gap in the section of sidewalk surrounding the school

"You come here at 8:30, 9 o'clock in the morning, you got parents walking, kids are running," added neighbor Mary Jo Deeb.

Yet, soon they can step safely. Richmond's Department of Public Works has confirmed the sidewalk is about to be replaced.

"We received some federal funds for that,” explains Lamont Benjamin, Richmond's Capital Projects Administrator.  

Unfortunately, though, Benjamin says the work won't begin until late September -- after school starts.

"Well, I think it should have been done this summer, you know, before all the traffic of the kids but at least they're going to get it done,” Deeb said.

8News asked why the project wasn’t completed before the start of school Tuesday.

"Our goal was to get to done before school opens, however, we have had a lot projects going on at the same time,” Benjamin said.

Checking Google Maps, 8News discovered the school sidewalk has been in poor condition for at least six years.

That’s not surprising to Deeb. She pounded the pavement to get the sub-standard sidewalk across the street fixed. 

"It took me two years,” Deeb said.

She recalls putting in a ticket several times requesting repairs. However, it wasn't until her neighbor fell that the work got done.

"I don't understand with the liability issue that the City wouldn't be after this more,” says Deeb.

Still, as 8News has discovered in the past, someone taking a tumble doesn't guarantee sidewalk repairs. 

"It was right around this area. My foot hit the raised concrete,” said Richmonder Jimmy Strickland, showing us the spot where he took a bad fall. “I had to have emergency surgery. I spent two days in the hospital."

That section of sidewalk on Grace Street is still not scheduled for repair.

So, how does the City decide if your sidewalk gets fixed? 8News got answers from the City. Tomorrow on 8News at 6 p.m. we will break that down and show you how to see if your sidewalk is set for repairs.

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