The Challenge of Aging Infrastructure in Small Towns
We have a great opportunity through the NJHCN Health and Wellness Grant to create a dedicated handicapped accessible walking path in a park that is connected to both a long distance railroad track trail as well as the paths through the town on the sidewalks. However a challenge in our community is the aging sidewalk infrastructure that connects to the park. Many homeowners do not realize that the condition of publicly used sidewalks is actually the responsibility of the property owner. Although many new sidewalks have been installed through grants like Safe Sidewalks to Schools, there are no grants available to maintain or replace existing sidewalks for our town. In order to understand the extent of the condition of the sidewalks, the Borough of Elmer had a survey done through Always Safe Sidewalks and discovered many violations on its 9 miles of sidewalks. The sidewalk pictured in this blog post has at least 6 violations of the Borough Code. Through a public awareness campaign the town is moving forward to identify the areas of damaged sidewalks and work with property owners to ensure compliance with the Borough Code so that our sidewalks are safe for all.
About the Grantee
Elmer is a small town in rural Salem County. Incorporated in 1893, it has historically served as a hub of activity for the surrounding farm community. It has a hospital, churches, banks, restaurants, a library, grocery, drug store, dollar store, gift & flower shops, medical & dental services, accountants & lawyers, salons, gas stations, & a lumber yard all packed into one square mile.
Cohort: South 1