City experiments with rubber sidewalks

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — Leaders in this southwest Ohio city want to install rubber sidewalks made from recycled tires in a neighborhood where tree roots have damaged concrete paths.

City Council on Wednesday night approved an application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for a grant of $7,050 to buy scrap tires.

With a funding match from residents, the city plans to install 1,000 square feet of rubber sidewalks in place of damaged concrete to test whether they can be effective throughout the city, officials said.

Rubber sidewalks have removable tiles, making it possible to trim tree roots.

“Hamilton’s an old city with a lot of beautiful trees, and we don’t want to lose those trees because of this disruption with the sidewalks,” said Doris Bergen, chairwoman of the city’s tree board.

Public Works Director Ralph Reigelsperger said he was concerned about how rubber sidewalks would respond to freezing and thawing in the winter, and their installation.

Concrete can be conformed to the shape of the ground, but the base for rubber sidewalks might require more preparation to ensure an even path, Reigelsperger said.

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