"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.
Sunday, December 8 2013 2:00 PM EST2013-12-08 19:00:23 GMT
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over. The incident happened on Route 105 in Berkshire late Friday afternoon. AuthoritiesMore >>
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:42 PM EST2013-12-08 18:42:20 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:30 PM EST2013-12-08 18:30:52 GMT
Police say a couple tried to use a baby to smuggle drugs into jail. Police say the baby arrived the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, with 27-year-old David Willette of Bennington, for a scheduledMore >>
Police say a couple tried to use a baby to smuggle drugs into jail.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:25 PM EST2013-12-08 18:25:45 GMT
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg. Police say at about 8:40 p.m. Gerald Begin rolled his car on Route 5 and was thrown out of the vehicle. He was taken toMore >>
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:21 PM EST2013-12-08 18:21:13 GMT
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used. The Adirondack Park Agency is considering recommendations for the land in the towns of IndianMore >>
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:18 PM EST2013-12-08 18:18:31 GMT
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York. The licenses will be awarded next year after voters passed an amendment allowing Vegas-style casinos outside Indian land. FourMore >>
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:13 PM EST2013-12-08 18:13:03 GMT
If you're lucky, you may have seen a snowy owl in Vermont. Researchers say the birds are traveling even farther south than usual -- some even as far south as North Carolina. We spotted one Friday afternoonMore >>
Researchers say snowy owls are traveling even farther south than usual, and that means more sightings here in Vermont.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:12 PM EST2013-12-08 18:12:07 GMT
The sun is completing a "solar flip," and that means many people could have the best chance in a decade of seeing the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. NASA says every 11 years the sun's polar magneticMore >>
We check in on some of the week's big science stories, including why the Northern Lights may be more visible soon.More >>