My sidewalk is starting to buckle and crumble. Will the City of Carmel fix this? If not, is there financial assistance available?

Good question. We know that some of Carmel’s older neighborhood areas are beginning to show signs of aging, including the deterioration of concrete sidewalks and driveways, some of which are 30 or 40 years old.

The City’s responsibility are the multi-purpose paths and sidewalks along arterial streets.

It is true that Carmel City Code makes it your responsibility (the homeowner) to handle maintenance and repairs to sidewalks and driveway portions in the public right-of-way, including repair of cracking or settling that makes them difficult and in some places unsafe to use.

The City’s responsibility are the multi-purpose paths and sidewalks along arterial streets. But the City also takes care of sidewalk repairs when a city-planted street tree or manhole is the cause of needed repairs.

But as a rule, when it is simply age-related deterioration, normal wear-and-tear, or damage from private contractor activity, that sidewalk maintenance is the homeowners’ responsibility to make repairs that meet City standards.

Now … some good news.

The City of Carmel has established a Sidewalk Repair Grant program to help keep our residential sidewalks in good shape and safe for walkers, bicyclists and anyone using sidewalks on a regular basis. This program is supported and funded by a $50,000 non-reverting fund established by the Carmel City Council in 2020.

The Sidewalk Grant is administered by the Department of Community Services in a partnership with the Carmel Street Department and Carmel City Engineer who administer the City’s annual sidewalk maintenance program. The Grant fund’s primary purpose is to help facilitate the upkeep and repair of sidewalks in residential neighborhoods, by assisting homeowners with their responsibility of maintaining the public sidewalks adjacent to their property.

This Sidewalk Repair Grant fund will assist residents who own and occupy their homes with the expense of repair or replacement of sidewalks and for removal of trees located on their private property that are affecting sidewalks by reimbursing up to 50 percent of the project cost, up to $3,000. The cost of sidewalk grinding, where heaving or slumping of sidewalks can be eliminated through mechanical grinding, is also a cost that can be reimbursed thru the grant.

The City has established a website with an online application for the Sidewalk Repair Grant, which includes an explanation for how to apply and the overall grant process.  Property owners may also choose to contact David Littlejohn ( who is the point person to administer the applications and process.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Property owners must own and occupy their homes and if they seek a grant.
  • You must solicit three competitive bids or quotes for the project.
  • Those quotes must be included with the grant application package.
  • Please to not start work on your project before you have had your grant approved by the Department of Community Services.
  • Applications will be evaluated on a first-come first-serve basis.
  • Applications will be reviewed and inspections will be done as part of the approval process.

Authored by Laura Campbell, Sue Finkam, Kevin Rider, Jeff Worrell, Sue Finkam, Bruce Kimball, Miles Nelson, Anthony Green and Adam Aasen.