At last week’s meeting of the Morris City Council, 30 year resident Mary Elizabeth Bezanson told the council during the public comment period of an incident in June where she tripped and injured herself on a city-maintained sidewalk on 7th Street.
“What happened to me was not an accident. What happened to me was an inevitable,” said Bezanson. “What happened to me was caused by your individual and collective unwillingness to deal with the disintegrating sidewalks in this town. Your greatest responsibility as council members and city employees is to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to Morris. You have not met that responsibility.”
The council discussed sidewalks later in the meeting, with City Manager Blaine Hill adding:
“There’s no way we can go out and fix every sidewalk in Morris. And one of the reasons is — we don’t own them,” he said. “A majority of the sidewalks in Morris are owned by the property owner.”
Since the city can often get contractors to bid on sidewalk repair projects cheaper than individual residents, part of the discussion centered on working with some of the homeowners and contractors to see if an attractively priced agreement could be reached, perhaps similar to assessments for city street projects.