Omaha man spends time & money fixing potholes himself

Stephen Robinson pats down a pothole he recently filled.

Potholes are a big problem for many people in Omaha.

Now, one man is stepping up to help his neighborhood.

He's spending time and money to fix the holes himself.

Stephen Robinson says he’s filled more than a hundred potholes just this year in his southwest Omaha neighborhood.

Robinson said, "If I didn't do it I think we'd be in a mess and I don't want to live on a street that is difficult to maneuver.

Robinson says the City of Omaha took care of potholes on his street for the first 20 years he lived in the neighborhood, but he says that all changed a few years ago.

"I really tried both through the street department and through my councilman to get help."

Robinson lives on an unimproved street, that means it was built many years ago and doesn't meet current city standards.

Robinson said, "Just because this is classified as an unimproved road the city still has obligations to maintain it, and given that they did in the past they should continue doing it."

However, Mayor Stothert's office says there's a rule about these roads: if pothole patching doesn't help and a road needs to be replaced the city won't fill holes anymore.

Robinson said, "Somebody needs to maintain this. I don't believe individual citizens should have to maintain it and pay the kind of taxes we pay."

Neighborhoods with unimproved streets can petition for the city to fix them. Currently, there's a cost-sharing program in the works so homeowners wouldn't have to pay for all the repairs.

Robinson said, "That's fine, but there's an interim period and that interim period is not a matter of weeks or months. It could be years if not many years."

For now, Robinson says he'll keep on filling and pay for dozens of bags of pothole patch to keep his street from falling apart.

Robinson says this is his fourth year of filling potholes in his neighborhood. He says he usually spends about $2,500 each year.

The mayor's office says there is a petition out for an area south of Robinson's property. It has not been sent to public works yet.

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