Vernon city leaders consider grant to help fix downtown sidewalks

Local News

VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — Vernon city officials are contemplating a grant program to repair the downtown sidewalks.

While the Vernon City Commissioners work to put a budget together, there is one concern that is still being worked out—fixing downtown sidewalks. A problem that goes back almost 20 years for business owner Layne Chapman.

“There was actually a fire in this building and in the repair of it the sidewalks were damaged and over time, heavy rains and things like that the sidewalk has deteriorated,” Chapman said.

Where the confusion comes in is who owns the sidewalk.

“It’s commonly known that the property owner owns to the center of the street however, the city has an easement from the edge of the building to the center of the street,” Chapman said. “So, whose property is the sidewalk?”

According to the city’s charter, it is up to the property owners’ to fix the sidewalks, but City Manager Marty Mangum said the city is working on a possible grant to help out.

“We started working on budget and we looked at what’s the possibility of us putting some city money in where it would be grants for business owners that possibly want to go in with us to repair those sidewalks and curbs and stuff,” Mangum said.

Chapman said it would be huge if they were able to work with the city to fix these sidewalks.

“It shows that the city is here to revitalize our downtown,” Chapman said. “We have some great new businesses that have shown up. We are doing everything that we can to hire people to actually make these businesses better so that shows that we are all in it together.”

Mangum and Chapman said they hope the city and business owners can come to a solution and fix these hazards.

The city commissioners will continue to work on the budget during their next workshop scheduled for Aug. 13, 2019, and hope to approve the new budget around Sept. 17, 2019.

The city of Wichita Falls is facing a similar situation as they are working to find a way to have their business owners repair the sidewalks as well.

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