"I have walked for the 40 years that I have lived in Rutland," Pam Murphy said. "I used to walk with my children in carriages and now I walk with my grandchildren."
Murphy says she walks every single day. Whether it's to run errands in town or simply to take a stroll, she says she has always been a walker. But something has slowed her down: the sidewalks.
"It's not level," she said. "Most of it, the pieces seem to be broken up and some pieces seem to have like one end is very low, the other end very high... but just hard to walk."
Murphy says safety is her biggest concern and sometimes she finds herself walking in the street because the sidewalk is so deteriorated. But a Department of Public Works study may finally get the city on track to make some major improvements.
"It's a well-known fact here that we have to do a lot more than we are doing. But for the first time, we have a sense of what a lot more really is," said Jeff Wennberg, the commissioner of public works in Rutland.
Wennberg says in 2012 the department began surveying every single sidewalk in the city. The sidewalks were rated on a number of factors, including condition, pedestrian traffic and proximity to schools and the hospital. Wennberg says this inventory will now allow the city to see which areas are the worst of the worst and what the price tag is.
"The dollars involved are substantial," Wennberg said. "If we decide, for example, to try and fix everything that is substandard right away-- you are looking at upward of $5 million. That's a lot to spend on sidewalks."
But $5 million would cover just the most problematic stretches. The inventory states that a total cost for fixing all sidewalks is $12.5 million. Not all of those sections need replacement yet, but over 20 miles of sidewalk are in poor or failed condition.
The sidewalk inventory will be presented to the Board of Alderman and members will begin a conversation about how repairs might fit into an already tight budget.
"I hope it gives us more of an idea of exactly what is out there and what conditions they are in, both short term and long term. And then putting together a comprehensive plan where, obviously, you are not going to be able to do them all at once, but you know chip away at it and do it over a sustained period of time," said Dave Allaire of the Rutland Board of Aldermen.
Allaire says he knows the tax burden in the city is already tough, but believes the community is ready to talk about spending because the sidewalks are in such rough shape.
"I know it's a big problem in the whole city," Murphy said, "but I would say mostly the main areas would be better to start with."
Murphy says if the sidewalk projects make it onto the ballot she will vote for a small increase in taxes to help fill in the large concrete holes.
The city currently has $70,000 to spend this year on sidewalks; 3,000 feet of walkways have already been redone.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:57:36 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:58:34 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:34:35 GMT
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains. There were localized areas of high water and damage, like a road washout on Mud Hollow Road in Kirby. Water remainsMore >>
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:08:35 GMT
If you thought the weather Tuesday really stunk, you weren't alone. Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers were too much for even a beaver. WCAX Producer Diane Landry caught video Tuesday in MiltonMore >>
Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers in our region Tuesday were too much for even a beaver.More >>