FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) – They’re meant for residents in the neighborhood to get around safely, but for years uneven, slopping sidewalks have made that tough for some in Fairhope’s Southland Place subdivision.
“Everybody’s seen the little ramps that have the little bumps on it. Those are called an ADA ramp and they not only have the tactile warning system in it, but there has to be a proper landing and everything else. None of that is present there,” explained Fairhope Public Works Director Richard Johnson Thursday.
That’s why a resident filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2018 to get the sidewalks ADA compliant. Since the complaint was administered through the Federal Highway Administration, and the City of Fairhope receives federal dollars through FEMA and grants, the city is now responsible for making the needed repairs.
“We have a plan that works that brings them 100% into compliance. We have now met with over 50% of the affected homeowners and we’re trying to get the other 50% in. We’ve had multiple meetings and direct approaches,” said Johnson.
He tells us when the homes were built two decades ago there were no regulations in place. For months the city has drawn out plans and worked to address the concerns, now more action is coming soon. They’ve now set aside $1.5 million in next year’s budget for the project, but Johnson believes the final cost will come in well below that figure when a contractor is awarded the job later this year.
“The good news is the construction work that has to be done is pretty straight forward work. It is sidewalk, curb, gutter, street. We have contractors throughout our community that do that work day in and day out,” he continued.
Johnson says residents in the affected neighborhood can contact his office to learn about the design and how the project might affect their community when work begins.