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Simple fix explodes into major rebuild

Standing next to the precipice, all the “sidewalk superintendents” were in agreement recently. The hole was a mighty fine one.
The gathering started slowly. One or two “superintendents,” all of retirement age, sagely speaking about how the job should be done and what caused the problem in the first place. Before one knew it, three more “old fellows” sauntered up to see what was so interesting.
“Need a license to superintend here?” one old-timer asked.
“Nope,” replied another.
With little else to inspect, the gathering dispersed. Had the old-timers lingered much longer, the loitering ordinance may have kicked in. Still not sure what the attraction is about holes in the ground and old guys, but it’s there.
Which brings me to the gist of this column.
Not sure about the origin of the word “amok,” but it certainly applies to many things happening around the world today.
But one does not have to stray too far from home to see it in action. All one has to do is go to main street in Glencoe and take a look.
It started last spring when a bevy of yellow-shirted guys gathered on Hennepin Avenue in front of Gert & Erma’s to inspect the deteriorating condition of the sidewalk. It was obvious to all that the sidewalk needed to be replaced. Not sure all 10 or 12 of the “experts” were needed to survey the sidewalk to agree on the obvious. But there they were. It looked like a colorful convention of some sort.
The coffee ladies inside Gert & Erma’s asked what all the yellow-shirted experts were doing? They were not brave enough to ask directly.
So I did.
The first question: “What’s up?”
As soon as I uttered that, I thought about the Bugs Bunny cartoons of old.
Second question: “Replacing the sidewalk?”
No, they were all gathering together to sing camp fire songs and make S’Mores.
Hey, no need to be snippy about it.
Actually, the city engineering consultant politely explained that the sidewalk replacement process is more complicated nowadays. You can’t just replace a sidewalk. You have to have it engineered to Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
Oh, really?
So what started out as the simple, and relatively inexpensive sidewalk replacement project has run amok and ballooned into a nearly half-million dollar project. All it took was to include state and federal agencies in the solution.
Anyone who frequents the businesses downtown knows the situation. Some of the sidewalks are literally falling apart. It was not unusual for a businessperson to walk into a store with a chunk of the sidewalk in hand.
Complaints to the city prompted a look-see, which resulted in commissioning a $9,200 study by the city engineers, which sparked involvement by the state (because it abuts state Highway 22), which activated the feds to invoke its ADA rules.
Before one knew it, a couple hundred dollar patch job had exploded into a $434,000 rebuild of two blocks of sidewalks, replacement of underground utilities, plus make the whole area accessible to the handicapped.
To prevent any accidents, the city recently had the sidewalk cracks filled and the chipped portions smoothed over. That should hold until the mega-sidewalk work begins next summer. Actually that patching was probably all that was needed in the first place.