Lehigh Valley

Allentown neighbors don't want to install sidewalks

Allentown neighbors don't want to install sidewalks

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Neighbors in one part of Allentown are fuming over funding for sidewalks. They say they don't have the money to pay for sidewalks the city is telling them they are required to install.

The issue arose after a plan to re-pave Cumberland Street.

Resident Diane Cheer said, "We got a letter maybe six weeks ago that said we're mandated to put in sidewalks and curbs, they're re-doing the road, we are responsible for paying for it because it's a city ordinance."

Cheer and her neighbors say they don't have the thousands of dollars it would take.

"The lowest estimate we got was $9,000," she said.

"I don't think it's fair, either," said Edwin Baker, who lives next door to Cheer. "I've been here since 1955. Fifty-nine years and nobody has ever been hurt or injured as a result of there not being sidewalk here."

"Give us a break, we can't afford it," Baker added.

Neighbors pleaded their cases but the Allentown Planning Commission last week denied requests for postponement. Chairman Oldrich Fouchek III said the commission was bound by the ordinance.

Cheer said she is so upset she even contacted the White House.

"To go into debt for another six to eight years to pay off sidewalks over my car rusting away, over buying food week to week, over putting gas in my car, which costs more than buying food week to week, it's just absolutely mind-boggling," said Cheer. "It's a financial issue but it's really a moral issue. Something just is not right about this. It's an issue of integrity."

Residents can either hire a contractor or the city will select one and put a lien on their property until they pay the bill.

Calls to the Planning Commission were not returned Monday.

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