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Depends On What Your Definition of 50/50 Is

By Amy Hart in News on Oct 14, 2005 4:06PM


The Chicago Department of Transportation has a program in which they will evenly split the cost to replace sidewalks in front of commercial or residential properties with the owners of the property.

It is called the 50/50 Sidewalk Program. Well, it was called the 50/50 Sidewalk Program for over forty years, but it is now called the Shared-Cost Sidewalk Program.

Why the change in the program’s name?

Yesterday the Sun Times reported that usually homeowners pay more than 50 percent of the cost to replace the sidewalk. Residents were unaware of this discrepancy because they are forced to pay the city upfront and not informed of the final cost of the job. The Sun Times investigation found that 60 percent of homeowners were overcharged in the past three years. Many of those who have paid less have political connections with the city.

Aldermen are not happy about their neighborhood’s homeowners being ripped off. They want to see the city send out refunds to property owners who were forced to pay more than their fair share.

The city has said it will not refund residents and that the whole situation is all just a big misunderstanding, and that the 50/50 part refers to the program as a whole, not to individual property owners, and that they love you and care for you and just want to see you happy. And now they changed the program’s name to ease the confusion, so can’t we let bygones be bygones and just hug it out?