Sidewalk upheaval: Need understood, timing questionable

We understand why the leaders of city government want to institute a sidewalk inspection program along with a plan to upgrade sidewalks throughout Williamsport.

Williamsport is an older city, with deteriorating sidewalks in many neighborhoods that can lead to falls and other accidents, along with insurance liability headaches.

There is a need that is being met here.

Unfortunately, the administration announced the program without warning 10 days before Christmas.

Even City Council leaders were not aware of the administration’s plans.

About all city residents heard under those circumstances is that inspections are starting and costs for replacing sidewalks can be several thousand dollars in some instances.

That’s an expensive blindside in mid-December.

The plan is especially disconcerting for someone who has moved to a neighborhood, only to find sidewalks in front of their home neglected.

We hope the administration will be very judicious in its enforcement of this program and will make every effort to help residents with financial assistance through the city community development office.

The sidewalk updating follows a successful blight removal program by the city codes department.

We understand the thinking.

It’s one more needed improvement for an aging city.

We just hope the most expensive fallout will be limited to owners of those sidewalks with a long pattern of neglect and protracted resistance to the goals of the program.