AUGUSTA — The city will return the sidewalk on a street in the Mayfair neighborhood to its previous, lower elevation and shape, to try to prevent flooding residents there said started when the city installed a modern, raised sidewalk in 2015.

Ripping the new sidewalk out on a block of Windsor Avenue is expected to cost just a few thousand dollars more than a planned engineering study aimed at identifying the cause of the problem, and potential solutions to it.

So that’s the option city councilors agreed to informally Thursday when City Manager William Bridgeo asked which they want the city to do.

Multiple residents of Windsor Avenue, a street in the Mayfair neighborhood, say they’ve had ongoing problems with water on their properties, including one who said her basement was flooded by a foot-and-a-half of water during a heavy rain, ever since the city installed a new, taller sidewalk on their street in 2015.

Residents who approached the City Council asking that the sidewalk be returned to its previous height said they’re worried their property values are lowered by the sidewalk preventing water from draining from lawns and leaving standing water, creating what some of them call swamplike conditions attractive to ducks in some yards in the neighborhood. They also said, come winter, water gets into the street and their driveways and freezes, encasing them in ice and making walking and driving there slippery and dangerous.

Jacquelyn Cyr, who said her 49 Windsor Ave. home’s finished basement was flooded with a foot-and-a-half of water shortly after the city replaced the sidewalk in front of her home, said she anticipates removing the sidewalk will fix the problem.

“If it goes back to the way it was, I suspect I won’t have those issues anymore,” she said.

Bridgeo said the city can rip out the raised, modern, square-edged sidewalk installed when the road was reconstructed in 2015 and return it to the same elevation it was before. He said in place of the raised sidewalk, the city could paint a stripe along the street and paint stencils on that side of the street, to indicate it is meant for pedestrians and bicyclists.

He said that might or might not solve the problem residents have complained about.

“It’s about the same cost to remove the sidewalk on that block and restore what’s called a rolling curb, like used to exist there, and basically get the street back to the same elevation where the lawns begin,” Bridgeo said. “I’m not suggesting that will indeed result in full remediation of the problems that came up, or are perceived to have come up, since the street was reconstructed, but that’s one possibility.”

Lesley Jones, public works director, said returning the sidewalks to how they were before would return the water drainage to how it drained before. But she said Cyr must take some steps to prevent further problems, too, as identified by an initial engineering report done by a consultant to the city, Woodard and Curran. Those steps include removing drainage pipes on her property that drain, illegally, Jones said, into the sewer system, and instead route that water to a sump pump.

Cyr said she would do so.

Bridgeo said the city already spent about $3,000 to pay the consultant to do the initial work. A full engineering report of the problem could cost about another $14,000.

Bridgeo said ripping out the sidewalk and restoring the previous elevation on one block of Windsor Avenue would cost $15,000 to $20,000.

He said the work could be done by Labor Day.

Mayor David Rollins asked what will happen if restoring the sidewalk to the way it was doesn’t solve the problem.

Bridgeo responded that if the city restores the sidewalk to how it was before, and the problem remains, it is his opinion that would not be the city’s problem.

Bridgeo said no council vote is needed because the work removing the sidewalk will be funded from the public works budget.

Councilors expressed informal support for it, without voting.

“My opinion is we should remove the sidewalk and put it back the way it was, and make (residents there) happy,” Ward 4 Councilor Anna Blodgett said.

Bridgeo and Jones said there is no drainage system in much of the Mayfair neighborhood and installing one would cost several hundred thousand dollars, and require the participation of the Greater Augusta Utility District, which has responsibility for stormwater runoff in Augusta.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj