YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An art exhibit at the SOAP Gallery in downtown Youngstown is drawing awareness to dangerous sidewalks in the city.
In light of the exhibit, people in Youngstown neighborhoods discussed how they deal with the real-world problem that the photographs put on display.
Jo Tubwell loves nearly everything about her part of Youngstown.
“Except the sidewalks. I’ve fallen flat on my face sometimes trying to walk,” Tubwell said.
A section of sidewalk where she lives has been heaved up by a tree root and water over the years. As people age in the neighborhood, it is becoming a big problem for the residents.
Sidewalks are an issue in many of the city’s older neighborhoods, with uneven sections and portions of concrete missing.
Like many on her street, Tubwell said she can’t afford to pay someone to fix her sidewalk.
“If I had the strength, I could pull my own cement and fix it myself,” Tubwell said.
Cythia Williams from Youngstown said she worries that the broken areas are putting people in danger.
“More or less, walk in the street to avoid all the cracks because if you are elderly, it could trip you up and you could fall. The kids don’t do it, they mostly walk in the streets,” Williams.
Technically, it is the responsibility of property owners to repair their sidewalks.
Councilman Julius Oliver said the city knows many people just cannot afford to do it. Other properties have been abandoned and there’s no one left to take care of the walkways.
Oliver said there just is not enough money to fix them.
“We usually get with neighborhood organizations like YNDC and other groups, go out and try and clear the sidewalks or come up with a program to fix them,” said Oliver.
He said council is always on the lookout for ways to help with the broken sidewalks.
The exhibit called “Where Sidewalks End” will be on display in Youngstown through the end of August.