"We need to talk about people and how this is affecting their lives and the fact that we need to get these reopened for the neighborhoods, both on top and on bottom here," said Tom Loughery, owner of the Three Towers Apartments in Jim Thorpe.

For years, the borough of Jim Thorpe maintained the steps which connect High Street to downtown.

That changed in 2017 when an insurance claim forced the borough to conduct a survey which found the steps actually belong to two private property owners.

"I got a letter in the mail just saying the borough is basically telling me I own a set of public steps," said Loughery.

The steps sit between the Three Towers Apartments and the Parsonage Bed & Breakfast. Together the two owners decided to close them to the public.

"For insurance reasons we had to keep people off the steps until this issue was resolved. We thought it would be hopefully a short process and unfortunately it hasn't been," said Loughery.

More than two years later, the two sides remain at an impasse. The property owners say the steps are safe but don't believe they should be responsible for a public right-of-way.

They also claim the borough doesn't want to talk.

"They stonewall, they just don't say anything or they make a comment that's well-meaning but sort of just to gloss over the issue," said Loughery.

It's no secret parking in Jim Thorpe is a problem. Loughery thinks the closure of the steps has made it worse.

"If we still had the parking up on High Street and it was accessible to us, some of these issues wouldn't have come up, because there wouldn't be as much pressure to park down here on Broadway," he added.

Loughery says he doesn't want the issue to end up in the courtroom, but if the borough doesn't come to the table soon, he may not have a choice.

"If we have to go to court for them to obtain this knowledge that would be a shame, I'm willing to give it to them anytime they want to sit down and talk but they don't seem to want to talk," said Loughery.

At a recent meeting, one council member agreed the steps are an important part of Jim Thorpe.

"I don't know who is responsible for repairing them or replacing them but I think those steps are necessary and I think it's a part that adds to our town," said borough council member, Edith Lukasevich.

But the borough says because the issue is a potential legal matter, it cannot comment any further publicly.