GOSHEN – A Goshen business owner fell through the sidewalk and into an underground vault in front of his business in July.
An investigation found other vaults under a number of businesses were falling apart, leaving more than 2 dozen other sidewalks in danger of collapse.
WSBT took a look at what it will take to make them safe.
“Our main concern is safety for everybody,” said City Building Inspector Tony Cano.
This past July, the owner of the Dew Drop Inn fell through the sidewalk in front of his business and into a dilapidated and deteriorating underground vault. As a safety precaution, the city investigated other businesses with similar old vaults under the sidewalks, and they found they also needed work.
On the heels of that, the city set up a program to prevent further mishaps. It involves the business owners and the city and calls for filling in the vaults and replacing the sidewalks.
“Part of the thing they would have to do is hire a professional designer, be it engineer or architect, put up a footer wall to hold up that back fill,” said Cano.
“And then, the city would pay for 100% of the pea gravel, the back fill material to be placed in the vault that is underneath the sidewalk,” City Engineer Mary Cripe added.
Following that, the sidewalk would be replaced. The city is splitting the costs with the businesses.
In all, the city of Goshen says it has found at least 25 businesses in and around the downtown area that it feels should take advantage of the program to fill in these vaults and stabilize the sidewalks and several others who should give serious consideration to that idea.
“To us, it is a safety concern,” said Cano. “Now that we are aware of this, we want to come in here and take care of these repairs and work with the public and in this case the business owners and make it safe for Goshen.”
The city and the Goshen Redevelopment Commission are working on funding for the city's share of the sidewalk-vault project.
The program runs through the end of next year.