Deep Ellum sidewalks in serious disrepair

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 14 at 5:16 PM

DALLAS -- Walkable neighborhoods. It’s a movement the city of Dallas is trying to encourage.

Deep Ellum already has that kind of charm, but sloppy work by a city contractor has turned the sidewalks in front of the legendary Sons of Hermann Hall into a hazard.

There’s little or nothing to keep pedestrians from falling right in, according to Stephen Howard, who works at the hall at 3414 Elm Street.

“It’s pretty treacherous. I don’t think you’d want to be walking into it. You could probably break your ankle or something,” Howard said. "Then you have this stuff here, which is pretty sharp. Can cut you down to the bone. And I’m about to walk right into something, right here."

Few neighborhoods have more pedestrian traffic than Deep Ellum, particularly on weekend nights. And fewer still have sidewalks so sketchy as Elm Street has right now.

In some places, there’s nothing but a string for a barricade. In other places, there’s on barricade at all. And one parking lot on Elm is full of collapsed holes, some at least a foot deep.

Tuyet Davis owns Lemon Grass Restaurant on Elm.

“I fell down and stepped in a hole, you know,” she said.

Davis said she was hurt in the fall. While she said the city of Dallas has done a good job keeping her informed on construction updates, she is worried about the health and safety of her customers.

The contractor on the project, a company called Omega, declined to comment for this story, other than to say their crews have been alerted to the hazards and will inspect the issue.

A representative for the city of Dallas acknowledged there are probably places where there is room for improvement.

Howard, from Sons of Hermann Hall, said he hopes that happens soon.

“It’s not blocked off and it would probably be really easy to get distracted, fall in there, and break your leg. Maybe your neck," he said. "Exposed rebar, pretty dangerous."

This construction project to widen and beautify Elm Street has been underway for a year-and-a-half. The city says the project should wrap up by the end of the year.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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