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Denver homeowner won't get help repairing flagstone sidewalk someone else damaged

Flagstone cracked into dozens of pieces
Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 20:18:17-04

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DENVER -- In booming Denver, the "old versus new" debate is playing out all over the city.

"We've been here for 52 years," said Maria, a homeowner in the Five Points neighborhood. "This is what I grew up with."

Maria loves her old home, and she loved her old flagstone sidewalk until she came home to find it destroyed at the end of May.

"I thought, 'did we have an earthquake while I was away?'" she said.

Maria's once solid flagstone seen in a Google street view image from 2017 was turned into a jagged jigsaw puzzle and a classic case of "who done it?"

"(I) asked our neighbor, and our neighbor said there was a forklift that was coming down the sidewalk. Just kept going, didn't stop, didn't get off the sidewalk once one area was cracked," she explained.

Two tire tracks seen in the grass from a photo taken shortly after it happened were another clue, but without surveillance video to prove it, Maria said she reached out to the city to find out her options.

"They won't allow us to replace it with flagstone, I'm being told it has to be replaced with concrete," said Maria. "That's not what I want to do."

Denver7 learned Maria was given bad information. The city tells us she can replace her shattered flagstone with new flagstone, but she'll have to hire her own contractor and can't pay the city contractor to do the work.

"Our contractor's not replacing existing flagstone with new flagstone," said Nancy Kuhn with Denver Public Works.

While many don't realize it, Denver homeowners and business are responsible for fixing cracked, busted and uneven sidewalk on their property. The city is now enforcing an old ordinance to make sure repairs are made to Denver's crumbling sidewalk system.

Inspectors started looking for hazardous sidewalks in region one neighborhoods in August, which includes Capitol Hill, Congress Park, and Cherry Creek.

If the city identifies a sidewalk for repair, the inspector will leave a notice on the property owner's front door and send another copy in the mail.

Kuhn said once the city notifies the homeowner, they will have 45 days to make the repairs using the city's contractor or their own.

"(We're giving them an) estimate that we feel is most affordable to fix the problem. They can use our contractor. They can go get their own contractor. They may be able to do the repairs themselves," she said.

As for those who don't meet the 45-day deadline for repairs?

"We are going to go ahead and make those repairs and bill the property owner," said Kuhn.

For Maria, she thinks there is a bigger issue and double standard.

"If somebody crashes your car -- who's responsible? The person that hit it. We didn't do this and now we have to repair it," Maria said. "With property taxes going up and such, you would hope that city would have some outlets."

Denver Public Works said they do not have a fund to help people like Maria stuck in sticky situations, but do have options for those who can't afford repairs.

Click here for more information on repairing/replacing flagstone sidewalk from the city.