Fire hydrant in middle of Cleveland sidewalk confuses residents

CLEVELAND-- There are a lot of people scratching their heads on Ohio Avenue on Cleveland’s east side.

Residents said they were confused when they discovered that a contractor for the Cleveland Water Department installed a fire hydrant in the middle of a sidewalk.

“Is that something new that they were going to be doing? You know stop people from being on the sidewalk, I really didn’t understand that," Cortilya Hearst said.

Residents said the original hydrant was on the tree lawn and they suspect the contractor decided on his own that the strip was too narrow to install the new hydrant, so he placed it in the middle of the sidewalk.

“I thought it was kind of strange. I didn’t know why it would be in the middle of the sidewalk, but I guess there are not a whole lot of places for it,” Jack Anderson said.

Residents said they view the unusual placement of the fire hydrant as a safety issue.

“I can’t even stroll with my grand babies on the sidewalk. I have to go in the street, which is very dangerous,” Hearst said.

“There’s a lot of people on the street that are handicapped, that use wheelchairs, they can’t even use the sidewalk.” Anderson said. “I mean, if you were walking down the street at night or something, it just doesn’t seem like a good place to put one.”

An online search revealed that hydrants have been placed on sidewalks in other cities around the country. Each time it seemed to create a buzz on social media and a public demand for the hydrants to be moved. Residents on Ohio Avenue feel the same way.

“I think it was just being lazy, just didn’t want to dig up where it needed to be dug up at, that’s what I’m thinking,” Hearst said. “And it doesn’t make any sense, so I think they should remove it.”

Fox 8 News contacted the Cleveland Water Department about the issue.

“The reason the hydrant had to be replaced was because it was hit by a car in the fall. And had we had the luxury of a wider tree lawn and placed it further from the street, that might not have happened. Our contractor placed the new hydrant smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk and that was just wrong," water commissioner Alex Margevicius said.

Margevicius said the contractor has agreed to move the hydrant within the next week or so, and will do so, "On his own dime," which means the cost will not be passed onto taxpayers.

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