By BOB SHRALUKA
Decatur’s 50-50 sidewalk improvement program has been around for a number of years, and used often, but some changes could be coming in the near figure.
There was discussion at the recent city council meeting about adding some sort of payment plan to the program.
“We’ve got quite a few bad sidewalks in town,” Building/Zoning Superintendent Curt Witte told council – to no one’s surprise. “And we have a lot of folks around town who are on fixed incomes” and simply cannot afford to put down the payment necessary to initiate a sidewalk improvement at their home or business.
An individual or business owner can contact the city to engage the program and split the cost 50-50 with the city.
Witte, though, said the average cost to the individual can be as much $1,000 to $1,200. He remarked that he has been asked by individuals if some sort of payment program could be set up, rather than having to plunk down an outlay of $1,000 or more.
“That would be a great idea,” Councilman Matt Dyer said.
Mayor Dan Rickord pointed out that “this program has been very good for our city.”
Councilman Tyler Fullenkamp added that that could help avoid a situation in which several sections of a sidewalk could be improved, but one bad section might be in between as that homeowner doesn’t have the funds to have his/her portion repaired.
There are some issues to resolve, however, before such a plan could be set up. City Attorney Anne Razo, for instance, pointed out that a financial needs threshold would have to be determined.
She noted, too, that perhaps a type of layaway plan could be established.
No final answers were reached, but the matter is likely to come up again.
Meanwhile, at the tail end of last year, the city’s board of works approved sidewalk improvement work at the northwest corner of Nuttman Ave. and Fifth St., and First St. from Jefferson St. to an alley.
The Jefferson/First St. contract went to TG Concrete and its quote of $8,738.13. Jerry Geimer got the contract for the Nuttman/Fifth project with a quote of $4,417.50.
The city improved several areas in 2022, the major effort bringing new sidewalks to the area of Bollman St. just east of the 13th St. intersection.