Residents in Rushville take issue with city’s response to sidewalk repairs

By LYNDSAY MACH, NEWS3 Reporter

RUSHVILLE, Illinois – A discussion about repairing sidewalks in the city of Rushville has some residents taking issue with the city’s response. 

Scott Stoll is a former alderman who pushed for the City Council to take a look at some proposals to fix some sidewalks he feels are unsafe. He said residents have been asking for sidewalk improvements the last four years.

“Sidewalks are, to me, I believe are a huge piece of our transportation for a lot of the people in our community,” Stoll said.

Stoll said some repairs have been done over the years, but more work is needed.

“That was one of the top issues to people when I was talking with them was the decay of our sidewalks,” Stoll said.

The sidewalks in question are located on East Lafayette Street from Congress Street to the Princess Theatre and along South Liberty Street near Station 1883 restaurant. According to Stoll, the discussion has been ongoing since February, but the proposal was quickly shot down during a city council meeting on April 5. 

“I went forward with a motion to at least get it surveyed and was interrupted right in the middle of the motion by the mayor saying we will not be doing these projects,” Stoll said.

Mayor Carson Klitz is opposed to the projects suggested by Stoll. Klitz believes there are more important things to spend the money on. He also said the sidewalks proposed are not in the worst shape as others in the town.

“They will stand to stumble on a sidewalk, but they won’t stand to be without water,” Klitz said. “I mean that’s just common sense, they won’t do that. So we’ve tried to take our money and spend it where they will give us the most bang for the buck.”

Stoll said he’s concerned about people’s safety.

“I’ve heard everything from people seeing kids fly off the front of their bikes because they hit a bad spot, we’ve heard broken legs, skinned knees,” Stoll said. “The most recent, was somebody tripping outside on one of the sidewalks in question, and I don’t know if they broke their foot or what, but they were certainly hurt.”

“When my girls ride a bicycle or even walking, some are cracked and heaved up,” resident David Schwalb said. “It’s easier even for me or any other pedestrian. They can trip on it pretty easy.”

Klitz told NEWS3, he is thinking about hiring high school students to work on patching sidewalks over summer break. He said the city does not have enough money to pay full price for sidewalk repairs. However, Stoll said that’s not the case.

“You’ve got to learn to prioritize your priorities, and of course there’s some basics, that’s water and sewage, that are fundamental,” Klitz said.

“We have quite a bit of money sitting in our general fund,” Stoll said. “We have some money sitting in our sidewalks fund as well.”

Stoll said the cost of the projects would be roughly $150,000. He said there are TIFF funds, Rebuild Illinois funds and general funds available to pay for the work. 

Klitz said anyone injured due to the sidewalk’s condition can go to the city’s insurance company.