McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 3, 2012

Main Street sidewalk remains closed after more than a year.

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — A sidewalk on Main Street at Choctaw Avenue has been closed for more than a year while McAlester City officials decide who is responsible for fixing the sinking and deteriorating walk way. 

“We closed the sidewalk as an emergency measure when it was determined that the sidewalk was sinking,” said Pete Stasiak city manager.
Teri Richmond owns Teri’s Red Barn a business whose frontage is the closed sidewalk. She said she bought the building a little over a year ago and soon after completing renovations she said the city came in one day and closed the sidewalk.
 “The building was falling apart,” Richmond said. “I bought the building in June of last year and spent all summer renovating it, I finally get it open and then the city comes and closes the sidewalk.”
She said getting answers from the city about when sidewalk will be open again has been difficult. “I can’t get a straight answer,” Richmond said. “It’s irritating, it seems like the city would want to help a new business but this is just never ending.”
She said she recently spent $700 to paint the fencing the city put up to block the sidewalk. “It was ugly and people didn’t know if my store was opened or not.”
Meanwhile Stasiak said the city hasn’t determined whose responsibility it is to fix the sidewalk. “Main Street is a state road,” Stasiak said. “The city doesn’t maintain the sidewalks on Main Street.”
However a representative from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said the sidewalk is the city’s responsibility, according to Mills Gotcher public Information officer for ODOT. 
“Maintaining the sidewalks would be the city’s responsibility, we maintain curbface to curbface,” Gotcher said. 
Meanwhile a decision as to when  the sidewalk will be fixed and who is responsible to pay for the work is up to the city attorney, according to Stasiak.
“The sidewalk is built over an old tunnel,” Stasiak said. He said the cost to fix the sidewalk is about $100,000. “We are waiting for the attorney to make a determination on it,” Stasiak said. “We expect an answer very soon,” he said.

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Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.