LIMA — Lima City Council’s Safety Services and Neighborhood Concerns Committee met virtually Monday night to discuss a growing problem of vehicles that park over the curbs or on the tree lawn area.
“Over the last several weeks, several councilors have gotten calls — primarily myself and Dr. Glenn, where individuals are parking on the tree lawn in certain areas not having curbs,” said Jamie Dixon 5th ward Lima council.
Claudia Walker, of 905 East 2nd Street, voiced concerns about large pickup trucks parking in front of her property on the tree lawn, damaging her waterline.
“Being on my property, it’s my job to pay the bills and you know it cost me, at least $2,00 to $3,000 to get that fixed, when you know it could have been prevented,” Walker said.
She’s even resorted to illegally placing railroad ties where the curb should be.
Public Works Director Howard Elstro recognizes the need for curb replacement.
“We have about 166 miles of street. It would be just an armchair estimate that probably 40% of our curbing could either be replaced or improved. Curb life itself has an expectation of about 40 years of service,” Elstro said. “My heart goes out to Mrs. Walker because I know when neighbors are not respectful of your property that it can be very aggravating. It does sound like Mrs. Walker has been very respectful and handling this very well, even though it’s cost her a good deal of financial loss. I’m not surprised if trucks are driving up on top of the water meter or what we call the curb stop. Obviously, it can break, due to the weight of the vehicle.”
Elstro noted that the property owner is responsible for the replacement of curbs and sidewalks.
“When we do have grant funds, we certainly do like to assist neighborhoods with replenishing those. But in the meantime, there is the assessment program that residents and council could weigh in and decide if they wanted us to be involved in a program like that,” Elstro said.
Right now, there is only 5 years to repay any assessments for curb and sidewalk replacement. Council members would like to see that changed to 10 years. Council will likely discuss this at a future meeting.
During the month of February, the Lima Police Department will begin a public education campaign about illegal parking on tree lawns or in the front or side yards of properties.
“We’ll do that through social media, through traditional media and also through friendly warnings. Beginning in March, we’re just going to have to start issuing tickets,” said Kevin Martin, Lima Police Chief.
If you’re in violation of the ordinance, it cost you $7.
“I look at $7, and that’s a slap on the wrist,” said Dixon.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.