NORWOOD PARK — About 40 percent of Chicagoans who applied for the city's shared-cost sidewalk repair program will get their bumpy, broken sidewalks replaced, city officials said.
The lucky homeowners who will get a chance to split the bill for repairing crumbling sidewalks with the city had to act fast. City officials began accepting applications at midnight Tuesday, and closed the program about 12 hours later when it reached capacity, officials said.
About 1,800 homeowners applied for the program, but only 800 of the requests can be covered by the program's $2.5 million budget, said Peter Scales, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.
"It is a very popular program," Scales said.
More than 175 residents of the 41st Ward applied for the program, Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) said.
Owners of homes in the middle of the block typically spend $500 to $1,500 for the repair, at a charge of $4 per square foot, which city officials tout as well below what a private contractor would charge. Senior citizens and residents with disabilities get a 50 percent discount, Scales said.
The sidewalk to be repaired must be evaluated by city engineers to determine whether it qualifies for the program, Scales said.
Work is scheduled to start in the spring, Scales said, adding that work last year was hampered by the long, harsh winter.
About 800 residents have participated in the program in each of the last several years, Scales said.
Included in the program is the main walk, the courtesy walk, which runs perpendicular from the main sidewalk to the curb, and existing catwalks or landing step, which is the small strip of concrete sometimes found adjacent to the curb, according to city officials.
Owners of corner lots will have to pay for both the front and side sidewalk repairs, city officials said.
Sidewalk damage can jeopardize pedestrian safety, and slow repairs from phone calls to the city's nonemergency 311 number can cost the city millions of dollars in judgments.
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