Trip and slips to be replaced downtown

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After nearly 40 years, Mother Nature is winning the fight against Chatham’s downtown sidewalks, as the mature trees are pushing up the concrete, causing trip hazards. That all changes this summer, as the sidewalks throughout much of the downtown will be replaced.
After nearly 40 years, Mother Nature is winning the fight against Chatham’s downtown sidewalks, as the mature trees are pushing up the concrete, causing trip hazards. That all changes this summer, as the sidewalks throughout much of the downtown will be replaced.

Chatham’s downtown will undergo a facelift of sorts this summer, only you’ll have to look down to notice.

Sidewalks along King Street between Third Street and Adelaide Street, as well as along Fourth Street to Wellington Street, will be ripped up and replaced.

The work cannot come soon enough for the Historic Downtown Chatham Business Improvement Association (BIA).

Co-chair Paul Shettel said the sidewalks have been an eyesore and trip hazard for some time.

“Places have had to be shaved down and it’s mismatched,” he said. “It will clean up the look of the downtown.”

The red stamped concrete will be replaced in July and August by more traditional white concrete, Shettel said. Work is expected to take between eight and 10 weeks.

Connie Beneteau, the BIA’s office administrator, looks forward to the improvements.

“It will be awesome. It’s hopefully going to help with the downtown tree roots, as they will be shaved down,” she said.

The mature downtown trees have pushed the existing sidewalks up in many places, adding to the trip hazards of the uneven sidewalks.

Shettel understood that there would be some short-term impact, as construction will take place during some summer events. He said the work is being done in sections, one side of the street at a time.

“People will just have to plan for alternate points of access for a while,” he said.

Parking will not change downtown, as no curbing will be moved.

Other sidewalks in the downtown core will be placed into the municipal-wide sidewalk replacement program, Shettel said.

The ones being replaced were in dire need, he said, as some parts were nearly four decades old.

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