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Hillsborough County leaders approve $20M for sidewalk repairs

DTBF sidewalks WFTS.png
Posted at 5:54 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 11:19:47-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — Much needed sidewalk repairs will come to Hillsborough County. Wednesday, county leaders approved budgeting $20 million over the next five years to repair sidewalks in underserved areas.

The $20 million would come from the American Rescue Plan Act funds distributed at the start of the pandemic. The county said the money "dramatically increases the number of neighborhoods Hillsborough can improve by repairing and replacing broken sidewalks."

According to the county commission, the improvements would not only promote safety but help, “mitigate recent years’ experience of increased insurance claims from injuries due to sub-optimal sidewalk conditions including a backlog of needed repairs.”

In 2018, Justin Stark showed ABC Action News why his journey down one sidewalk in Tampa was cut short. A giant hole and crumbling concrete would either force him to cross four lanes of traffic or turn around.

“These kinds of things are not a priority until someone gets hurt,” he said at the time.

That was a city of Tampa sidewalk — officials told ABC Action News in 2018 that funding is often times the reason for a backlog of sidewalk repairs. It also prioritized that sidewalk and said it takes the Americans with Disabilities Act very seriously and any work orders dealing with it get pushed to the top of the list.

In 2020, we told you about Jacqueline Cooper, who tripped on a sidewalk in Lithia and literally passed out from the fall!

“I had pushed my teeth through my front lip, so I had to have stitches all through the bottom of my lip,” she said, as she described the impact of the fall.

RELATED: Lithia residents grow more frustrated over continued sidewalk issues, have safety concerns

She suffered a concussion, black eye and bruised chin. At that same time, we spoke to Noelle Licor, who lives in Ruskin — she blamed the upended sidewalks on nature.

“Basically, the roots of the oak trees are pulling up the sidewalks,” she said.

At the time, her fear was that what happened to Cooper would happen to others in her neighborhood.

“You think about a sidewalk being pretty safe but then you come up here and it’s not safe. It’s like this in a lot of different areas,” she said.

To request a sidewalk or road repair in Hillsborough County, click here.