Lyndhurst homeowners face $2,000 bill for sidewalk damage caused by city trees

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 6:06 PM EDT
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LYNDHURST, Ohio (WOIO) - An elderly couple is now scrambling after receiving a citation that will cost them big time.

The city of Lyndhurst is asking them to fix their sidewalk. The job will cost more than $2,000.

The problem, according to the homeowners, the damage is caused by the city’s trees.

It’s hard to miss the damaged sidewalk on the Windham’s property on Hartley Drive. Orange cones and red caution tape block it off to any incoming walkers.

Homeowner Mildred Windham says the roots from these city-planted trees started raising the sidewalk blocks about a year ago, but it was just last month she found out she was the one who would have to pay for it.

“How are we going to take care of all of this,” asked Windham.

The Windhams received a letter from the city of Lyndhurst, notifying them they had just over a month to level or replace the sidewalk blocks to eliminate trip hazards.

They were shocked, because according to their niece Evelyn Williams, they were never told this was their responsibility.

“At the beginning of purchasing the property, all of that should be disclosed,” said Williams. “It should be in document form and all of that. None of that was happening.”

The Windhams looked into the cost of the job, between $2,000 and $2,500, and quickly realized this wasn’t something they could afford.

On top of that, they worry these roots will keep causing damage if they’re not taken care of.

“These roots go from there, all the way back here you can feel them still growing,” said Williams.

So we reached out to the city of Lyndhurst. We were told yes, these trees are owned by the city, but state law says it’s the homeowners responsibility to keep up the sidewalks.

As for any kind of financial help available, the city says there’s a sidewalk replacement program that covers half of the cost of damage caused by city trees, but it only visits areas once every ten years.

It seems the Windhams are left to foot this bill, and with the sidewalk replacement program not expected in their area until 2025, they may be looking at more costly damage in the future.

The deadline to fix the sidewalk was May 28th.

The citation says the homeowners may be summoned to court if they don’t comply.