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Downtown Lodi businesses weigh how to deal with dingy sidewalks

Sandelin: Cleaning years of grime is responsibility of property owners

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Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013 12:00 am

Much of Downtown Lodi — especially School Street — is adorned with cobblestone brick sidewalks with bright yellow cement. However, since the sidewalks were created about 15 years ago to help beautify the Downtown area, they’ve become quite dirty. Stains on the yellow portion of the sidewalks are the most visible.

The new-and-improved Downtown area was constructed in the late 1990s. The movie theater complex at North School and West Elm streets became the jumping-off point for other Downtown businesses to follow when the complex, known as Lodi Stadium 12, opened in July 2001.

Lodi Public Works Director Wally Sandelin says that sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner of the structure adjacent to the sidewalk.

“It certainly is something that needs to be done,” Sandelin said.

If Downtown property owners want cleaner sidewalks, Sandelin said, they will have to do it themselves.

Some merchants have thought about doing just that.

“We’re trying to get a guy with a pressure washer to do our sidewalk,” said Cheri Lima, a bartender at Garry’s Lounge on South School Street. “We get a lot of stepped-on cigarettes (on the sidewalk at Garry’s), so we need more maintenance than the average person.”

Downtown Lodi was redeveloped into a touristy-looking district with small-town atmosphere. Through an agreement with the City of Lodi, workers with special needs such as cerebral palsy sweep trash off the sidewalks and remove cobwebs from Downtown windows.

“They do a good job,” Lima said.

But they don’t power-wash the sidewalks to remove dirt and stains.

William Mault, a travel consultant for L&L Travel on South School Street, thinks it would be a good idea to clean the grime off the sidewalks. He said he has his own power-washer, but business has been too busy for him to clean the sidewalks — he said he’s been working seven days a week.

Mault said he plans to talk to merchants on his block about pooling resources to power-wash the sidewalks as soon as the travel business slows down this year.

Meanwhile, Lima says that the Downtown redevelopment in the late 1990s has been a success, bringing in more residents and visitors to the movie theater, wine-tasting establishments and other businesses.

“Our city fathers did a real good job redeveloping the Downtown and accomplishing what they wanted,” Lima said. “They designed it for people to come to Downtown.”

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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