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Aurora 55+ community struggles to maintain icy sidewalks, blames poor drainage system

Aurora 55+ community struggles to maintain icy sidewalks, blames poor drainage system
Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-09 22:12:17-05

AURORA, Colo. — More injuries have been reported in south Aurora's Inspiration community, but no significant remedy has been adopted to fix the shoddy engineering that's caused sheets of ice to build up on sidewalks in front of dozens of homes that are only a few years old.

Denver7 first toured the impacted neighborhoods in 2022. That's when we met residents like Sanjay Tripadhi, who detailed his injuries after slipping and falling on ice while walking to his vehicle.

On Thursday, Denver7 heard from even more residents. This time, they were much older, living in one of the community's 55 and older neighborhoods.

"I'd love if there was some kind of support for help for the sidewalks," said Bill Kroske, a resident of Inspiration's Hilltop neighborhood. "You got a 55 and older community. S***, I'm almost 85 years old and I'm out here shoveling snow and ice."

Kroske has no choice.

The sidewalks are governed by the city of Aurora. Developers followed city codes when they installed a drain that directs snowmelt over the sidewalk, which becomes ice overnight amid freezing temperatures.

Residents believe developers should have installed a chase drain, which would direct the water under the sidewalk and significantly mitigate the issue.

The city says it's the homeowners responsibility to clear ice and snow from the sidewalks or else they can be fined.

For Kroske, maintaining his sidewalk doesn't come without accidents.

"Several people fell, I fell... got a bruise on my hip and bloody arm and stuff," he said.

His neighbor, Allen Ansel, lives two doors down. He fell too.

"I'm a heart patient, my wife is a heart patient. I have a broken hip... there's nothing we can do. We're at the city's mercy, and the city doesn't seem to care about the older people," Ansel said.

In 2019, the city initiated a chase drain pilot program that identified about 150 homes that are in need of one, but the program was halted due to a finite budget and financial concerns.

In August, the Aurora City Council passed a resolution that supports requiring chase drains to be installed for new homes. Residents in homes that are just a few years old would have to pay for those drains themselves.

In a statement to Denver7 Thursday, a city spokesman said, "In addition to the resolution, the city also now allows a more affordable 6” chase drain option, instead of the 12” standard size, to be installed on local roadways with adjacent residential uses in existing and future developments. Residents concerned about current drainage issues in their neighborhood are encouraged to learn more about our Grass Replacement Incentive Program [], which helps residents convert their lawns to water-wise landscapes and mitigate water backups. In the meantime, the City of Aurora continues to evaluate further solutions to help homeowners prevent drainage and ice build up problems where they occur along public sidewalks."

For now, residents like Ansel and Kroske are just trying to make it through March and April without another fall.

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