Reporting Anjali Hemphill
Editor’s note (9/9/13): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated businesses were being made to pay for repairs to the sidewalk.
LODI (CBS13) – Lodi’s wine region may be sparking a downtown renaissance, but some business owners worry dingy sidewalks could turn visitors away.
The city says it’s the owners’ responsibility to keep the sidewalks in front of their stores clean.
“I don’t believe it’s fair,” said one tourist.
Sidewalks that used to be bright yellow now look dingy with the expensive brick cobble stone covered in spots and stains.
“I heard it was over $1.3 million to do this job, when they changed these sidewalks to the brick,” said Clothes Closet Consignment Shop owner Lisa Schwegler.
Schwegler says it’s not what she wants visitors to remember, but the city says it’s her responsibility to keep the sidewalk in front of her store spotless. And that frustrates her.
“The city is attempting to encourage additional people coming to visit. They want people to enjoy the wines of Lodi, appellations and it’s just (the city’s) job,” one tourist said.
City officials have successfully brought in many tourists to this small city, spending millions on a downtown makeover.
“It looks like it could be cleaned up. The cobblestones are very nice though,” said the tourist.
Business owners say they’ve tried to pick up the slack, but the job is expensive and time-consuming.
“It’s another hour or two out of your day, when I’m already working 70 hours a week or more,” said Schwegler.
City officials say they do have crews come sweep the sidewalks and streets twice a week, but Schwegler says that’s not enough to get rid of the dingy stains.
“We would love clean sidewalks. We’d like the gum off,” she said. “We would love sparkling clean, like a rainstorm, wash it down.
It’s part of Lodi’s leap into an elite wine region — sparkling sidewalks coming soon.
“We need to know what is good for the community, and the local politicians need to serve the constituents,” said the tourist.
While wine tasting continues in downtown, Schwegler says it costs her $160 to power wash her sidewalk.
There is now an effort by some downtown merchants who are considering pooling money together for continuing sidewalk cleanup.