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Denver woman on a mission to save city's flagstone sidewalks

Posted at 6:56 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 20:56:54-04

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DENVER — While many don't realize it, Denver homeowners and business are responsible for fixing cracked, busted and uneven sidewalk on their property.

Denver7 took a 360 look at the multiple perspectives of this sidewalk debate last month.

As city inspectors start enforcing an old ordinance to make sure repairs are made, a Denver woman is making it her mission to save the city's historic flagstone sidewalks.

"It's been here for 126 years; you have to give it its props," said Diane Travis, owner of a historic Victorian in Denver's Uptown neighborhood.

To say she's determined would be an understatement. Travis has fought the city twice to keep her flagstone sidewalks and is now letting everyone in on her secrets.

"I thought well I'm going to get people out here and I'm going to teach them about the stone," she said.

Travis turned her flagstone repairs into a lesson outside her Uptown home last week. She wants Denver homeowners to know there are cost-effective ways to fix their flagstone without a full removal.

Here are the three options.

  1. Mud or foam jacking: a contractor drills small holes into the stone and inserts foam or mud underneath to even out the flagstone
  2. Manually lifting the stone: and placing sand underneath to even it out
  3. Grinding: a contractor uses a tool on top of the stone to even it out

"I did these two pieces for $685," said Travis.

Denver's contractor will not replace flagstone sidewalks, but Travis wants homeowners to know there are plenty of people who will. She created this list of contractors available to do the work.

"The rule for the City of Denver's inspectors is if your two panels are offset more than three-quarters of an inch, you have to fix it," Travis explained. "Hug a stone today; I mean it's valuable stuff."

How many sidewalks need repairs?

Denver estimates more than half of city homeowners (58 percent) need sidewalk repairs, while 62 percent of commercial properties will have to fix their sidewalks.

As far as cost, the city said most repairs (40 percent) should cost less than $1,000, while 1 percent could cost more than $5,000.

Public Works has divided the city into eleven regions of neighborhoods and said it hopes to tackle one area per year.

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 owners front door and send another copy in the mail.

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

"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," said Nancy Kuhn, Denver Public Works Spokeswoman.  

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," she said.