Alberton mayor Michael Murphy ecently defended his council’s decision to have the cobblestones along the town’s Main Street taken up and to fill the gap with concrete.
Mayor Murphy stressed the decision was made for safety’s sake.
In reality, the cobblestones never were a good fit for the sidewalk. It filled the outer portion of the sidewalk, close to the street. Had the whole sidewalk been cobblestone, then it truly could have been regarded as a cobblestone walk and would have had to be maintained properly throughout its lifetime.
As it was, the cobblestone was largely neglected, and, in a way, it could afford to be. Except for crossing between the street and the concrete section of the sidewalk, it was hardly even stepped upon.
Is tearing it up a waste? Yes, but no more so than putting it down in the first place.
Had it been properly cared for throughout its 10-year lifetime it might not have had to be replaced.
Because it had settled lower than both the concrete section of sidewalk and the concrete curb by the street it had become a tripping hazard. So the mayor is right.
Knowing that the cobblestone was unsafe and doing nothing about it could possibly left the town liable if someone fell and got hurt.
An all-concrete sidewalk might not have the character and appeal of an all-cobblestone walk, but it has more of both than a walk that combines the two surfaces.
The all-concrete surface should also be easier to keep clear of snow and ice.
There still remains a cobblestone walkway leading down hill from Main Street to the town parking lot. It has character. It is all-cobblestone, is in fairly good condition and is probably safer for wintertime foot traffic than a concrete walk in that location that might be more prone to creating slips and falls.
So, now the town is left to decide what to do with all the cobblestones it is taking up.
It could sell them.
But for centain the town should only choose to put them to use if it is prepared to make sure the surface will be properly maintained.