So.Tampa sidewalk: A safety problem or waste of taxpayer dollars - WSPA.com

South Tampa sidewalk: A safety problem or waste of taxpayer dollars?

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Kay Wessner built a beautiful new home in South Tampa two years ago. The city of Tampa required her to install a new sidewalk in front of the home. The sidewalk wasn't a problem, Wessner built it, the city approved it and issued a certificate of occupancy for her to move in.

This week, Wessner was shocked when a crew from the City of Tampa showed up in front of her home to tear up, remove and replace the sidewalk.

Wessner went out to talk to the workers, "And I said, well why are you doing this? This is just a waste of taxpayer money, it's perfectly good."

A city worker informed her that there is a new department head and that person determined the sidewalk was not up to current standards.

"He decided this was not safe because it sent people into the middle of the street, even though there are stop signs on my corner and the corner across the street.", says Wessner.

She didn't accept the answer. Wessner says, " I was very upset to the point where I was going to sit down on my sidewalk to protect it."

So she called the city of Tampa and a supervisor came out.

After looking over the sidewalk, they decided to only remove and replace the ADA ramp at the end. The same ramp the city approved just two years ago.

Wessner says, "Someone needs to look at these programs, not do studies, not hire consultants, but look to see just the simple logic, common sense, that's all we need is common sense."

Thom Snelling with the City of Tampa says, it's not that simple.

Snelling says a ramp that gives access to people in wheel chairs was facing in the wrong direction.

Snelling says, "Because it was a safety hazard, it was determined to take it out."

Although Snelling admits, the same sidewalk was approved by the city when it was installed. "It was inspected, it was built, it was built properly, it was built according to the plan that got approved."

Now he says it a city worker noticed the ramp was angled so that someone in a wheel chair would be facing the center of the intersection and he says that's a dangerous situation.

" It could be, if you're in a wheel chair. If you're mother or father or daughter were in a wheel chair and that angle wasn't correct and they happen to fall or roll out into the street against traffic and they got hurt, would you think that measly one or two degrees would make a difference?"

After interviewing Snelling, WFLA TV returned to the intersection to inspect the sidewalk.

The ramp has been removed, a cub and grass have been added.

Now if someone comes to the intersection in a wheel chair, they will have to go over the grass and negotiate the ramp to make it into the street.

According the city, this now meets the current standard.

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