Erin Fischesser

Construction workers fix the sidewalks on South Main Street Wednesday.

Sidewalk repairs are continuing throughout the city of Oxford thanks to $97,570 allocated by the Community Development Block Grant.

According to Mayor Prue Dana, Oxford receives the yearly grant from the federal government.

“It all is passed down and it is targeted at areas that are low-income areas,” Dana said.

Dana said Oxford receives the $97,570 grant partially because the population of Miami University students who live off-campus and in Oxford basically produces no income, which classifies much of the city as low income.

According to Oxford Service Director Mike Dreisbach, the grant is not always used for sidewalks but for projects that will benefit the community as a whole.

“City council decides where that money is spent each year but the focus has been on the sidewalk for the past few years,” Dreisbach said.

Dreisbach said the money is used to repair areas for which the city is responsible, including the public right-of-way and gutters in alleys. One recent initiative included making sidewalks more wheelchair accessible.

The sidewalk repairs are strategic, Dreisbach said.

“We’ll target a certain area of town generally in conjunction with another construction project,” Dreisbach said. “Typically we try to be out ahead of road improvement projects.”

Crews are currently working on Main Street’s sidewalks between Chestnut and Sycamore street to prepare for roadwork beginning after Mother’s Day 2010.

The project is expected to be finished sometime before the roadwork construction begins, but sidewalks cared for by residents and property owners may not be completed at the same time.

According to Dreisbach, property owners are required to take responsibility for the gutter and sidewalk associated with their real estate.

Both Dana and Dreisbach said citizen complaints are considered in the repair process.

“(Crews) go around the city and mark the sidewalks to say which ones need to be repaired next,” Dana said. “It just depends on the cracks in the sidewalk and there a lot of places where tree roots have pushed up sidewalks.”

Some students have noticed sidewalks in need of repairs during their walks throughout the city.

Senior Allison Smith said sidewalks near her house on University Avenue are a huge problem.

“On the way back from the library we walk in the street,” Smith said.

Other students, such as senior Sarah Buddig, have not noticed as many problems. Buddig lives in Bella Place uptown and said she believes her location has a lot to do with her not worrying about sidewalk conditions.

“Since I’m right uptown it’s not as bad,” Buddig said.

Dreisbach said the next step is to reconstruct the road on High Street between Beech and Elm streets.

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