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Staten Island Lawmaker Ready To Take On NYC Over Sidewalks

Wonders Why Residents Forced To Repair When City Doesn't?
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NYC sidewalks in disrepair

A Staten Island councilman is wondering why his constituents are penalized for not repairing sidewalks near their property when he says the city doesn’t repair them anywhere else. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island councilman says New York City is walking on thin ice for failing to repair its own sidewalks, while forcing homeowners to fix theirs.

As CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reports, pedestrians feel as if they’ve been left walking on dangerous ground.

They are broken, uneven and cracked. City sidewalks in disrepair can be obstacle course for anyone to navigate.

“It’s dangerous. I mean, I have kids, and you have to worry about people falling. My mother is 67 years old. You don’t want her tripping on the street,” said Staten Island homeowner Rosary Pabe.

But what happens when there is no sidewalk, and it’s city property — in this case — outside a ballpark on Staten Island’s South Shore?

“Well this is hypocrisy at its worst, because my constituents in these files right here are being banged out for having sidewalks that are slightly cracked,” City Councilman Vincent Ignizio said.

He said there’s a double standard when it comes to sidewalks. The city demands homeowners fix broken concrete outside their homes in 45 days or reimburse the cost.

“Now that’s bad. I mean you really shouldn’t be charging other people for sidewalks when you don’t even look out your own back down, your own backyard, and see what’s going on yourself,” Ignizio said.

CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis obtained a copy of the councilman’s complaints, a long list of 944 city properties with broken or missing sidewalks. Ignizio wants the city to fix what’s on the list, while cutting homeowners a break.

“That’s the funny thing. They want us to do it, and they won’t take care of their own business,” homeowner John Belmonte said.

In response, a city spokesman said in the last five construction seasons $5 million was spent repairing sidewalks at city-owned properties. Another $4.5 million was spent on sidewalk repairs to private properties, said to be proof the city is on the job.

But Councilman Ignizio said there are still too many areas with no sidewalk at all.

“Really the city needs to check its own inventory before it starts going after people and violating them when they don’t have sidewalks in most of their own properties in my district,” Ignizio said.

He’s demanding the city not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

The city said homeowners can contest sidewalk violations, and report other dangerous pavement by calling 3-1-1.

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