The Homestead Avenue sidewalk photos Maybrook Mayor Dennis Leahy has sent the N.Y.S. Dept. Of Transportation (DOT) are horrifying: huge cracks that run the width of the sidewalk between Jewel and William Streets and disintegrating and even missing sidewalk sections between Main and William Streets.
The mayor is angry and wants those sidewalks fixed — and fixed now. He also sent copies of an angry letter to the DOT and the photos to Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Senator James Skoufis. Leahy doesn’t believe the DOT will fix the Homestead Avenue sidewalks that are the state’s responsibility because he has been trying “for several years”.
“These sidewalks are not owned by the village,” Leahy explained at Monday’s village board meeting, outlining Maybrook’s past efforts at repairs. Previous grants from Skoufis’ office and from the office of the late State Senator William Larkin were reserved for the village to fix the sidewalks, since the DOT had not. But Maybrook needed required DOT permits to fix state property, and Leahy says the state agency dragged its feet and never did issue the permits. So the village reallocated the two member item grants to replace village-owned sidewalks instead.
Now the situation has reached a breaking point for village officials.
“We have a lot of the elderly and children who walk these sidewalks every day,” Leahy said, an opinion shared by Trustee Kevin Greany, who said he also walks those sidewalks frequently and will sometimes walk in the street to avoid the perils of the broken, uneven walkways.
“It (the village) is legally unable to take on the task of repairing those sidewalks within the state’s right-of-way along Route 208 (Homestead Ave.), the main thoroughfare through the village,” Leahy told the DOT. “A recent inspection reveals those sidewalks are in dire need of repair. The village hereby requests that the DOT take the steps necessary to repair and improve the hazardous and dangerous condition of these sidewalks immediately before someone is injured.”
Leahy added that his letter, with photos, “is intended to serve as formal notice of the conditions, dangers and hazards mentioned”.
Deputy Mayor James Barnett questioned Village Attorney Kelly Naughton if the “formal notice” means the DOT will be legally required to repair the sidewalks. Unfortunately, she said, the answer is no.
“It doesn’t work in the same way,” she said, noting that homeowners can serve the state with “formal notice” of dangerous conditions and it must then legally remedy the dangerous situation. But, she said, the cost to homeowners to do so is in the $100s, causing few individuals to follow this route.
Leahy said Skoufis has promised to do “anything he can” to get the DOT to repair the sidewalks.
“We’ll see,” Leahy sighed, “what we can get out of this.”