Saline Homeowners With Hazardous Sidewalks Will Have a Choice to Make

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 07/25/2017 - 02:36



If you’re a City of Saline resident with a broken sidewalk in front of your home, there’s a chance you’ll soon have a decision to make.

The City of Saline is beginning phase two of its sidewalk-improvement process. At the July 17 meeting, Saline City Council voted 7-0 to award Stantec, Inc, with the contract to plan, inspect and manage this year’s sidewalk construction program. The contract is worth $14,205 plus $300 per sidewalk ramp.

Phase one of the project, conducted in 2015 and 2016, eliminated most of the trip hazards on city sidewalks. The work cost about $250,000. That work was guaranteed by the contractor. (City residents who’ve seen their repaired sidewalks become hazardous again should contact the city.)

This phase begins with the sidewalks that weren’t fixed by that technique, according to Jeff Fordice, Director of the city’s Department of Public Works.

“These are the sidewalks that, for various reasons, need to be replaced,” Fordice said.

Five firms bid on the city’s request for proposals. Ann Arbor-based Stantec delivered the lowest estimated cost for construction engineering, planning, inspection and management.

“Stantec had a great work plan in their proposal and they were the overall best and lowest cost proposal,” Fordice told council. Stantec has also worked with the city in the past.

The city has budgeted around $20,000 for this round of project. The remainder, according to plans, will be paid for by homeowners.

Fordice outlined the process by which Stantec will manage the project.

  • The first phase is planning. Exiting survey data will be analyzed to focus on one geographic area.
  • Then the sidewalks in that area will be inspected to determine if the responsibility for pair belongs with the city or homeowner.
  • Cost estimates will be determined for the private-responsibility repairs.
  • The repair agreements, prepared by the city’s attorneys, will be given to the homeowners.
  • In the construction-RFP phase Stantec will develop documents for RFPs from construction firms.
  • During construction, Stantec will be responsibility for inspection of the work and forwarding costs to the city, which will invoice residents who chose to participate.

Councillor Dean Girbach asked what happens if homeowners don’t agree to participate.

“I’m reading this as a volunteer-type thing. Are we going to go ahead and replace it anyway and then assess the property?” Girbach asked.

Fordice said the sidewalk agreements are voluntary.

“The property owner can look at our proposed costs and the convenience of having our firm do it. If they sign the document, we invoice them. If they don’t pay then we assess it on to their taxes,” Fordice said. “IF they choose not to do it then it will go into our standard code enforcement process.”

That includes building code notices until it’s fixed, or until there’s a court order that allows the city to fix the sidewalk, and then assess the property owner.

“It’s a much messier process,” Fordice said. “So I’m hoping a lot of people will go with this voluntary agreement.”

Councillor Dillon asked Fordice how the city will approach homeowners.

“This is voluntary. You’re going to tell people that we think this sidewalk is your responsibility,” Dillon said.

“We’re going to tell people, ‘You need to fix your sidewalk and here’s a convenient way if you choose,’” Fordice said.

The awarding of the contract was unanimous.

Construction should be complete by the end of October.


“I’m glad we’re moving forward on this, Mr. Fordice,” said Mayor Brian Marl.


Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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