Alice Campbell Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
After a lengthy discussion, members of the Streets and Sidewalks Committee decided to postpone appropriating funds to either of two proposed sidewalk replacement projects. A project proposal to replace the sidewalk in front of the Ryan Building along 2nd Avenue and a proposal to replace the sidewalk around the Atrium Mall, except for the corners, were presented by Krystal Steinmetz, communi ty planne r wi th Bear Paw Development Corp., as eligible to receive Community Transportation Enhancement Program funds at an earlier City Council meeting. The full council referred the issue to the committee to review if they should receive any funding. Together, the projects total approximately $345,424 more than the $183,204.39 available for the city to allocate, Steinmetz said. Originally, it was said that part of the sidewalk in front of the Ryan Building was privately owned. After a reassessment, it was determined that the sidewalks are entirely in the public right of way. Regardless of the public right of way, property owners are responsible for maintenance of the sidewalks adjacent to their properties, said committee chair Allen "Woody" Woodwick. That doesn't mean that the city shouldn't help in some capacity, but they shouldn't be almost solely responsible, either, he added. There are still some other projects that are seeking CTEP funds, but have not formally approached the city yet, said committee member Pam Hillery, adding that the committee should be careful about how much is doled out for what. Committee members questioned the roughly $216,700 price tag for the Ryan Building project, and asked for some alternatives to lower the cost, including the possibility of filling vaults under the crumbling sidewalk with foam or gravel. Ryan Building owner Steve Mariani said he would investigate alternatives as well as get a definite answer on who Would be liable if an injury occurred because of the sidewalk. The committee should determine how much, if any, CTEP funds will be allocated, then the property owners can determine if they can afford the match of 3.42 percent of the allocation, plus the difference, committee member Terry Schend said. The committee will meet again Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall to discuss the issue further. While it is an open-ended application deadline to receive CTEP funds, the process leading up to actually receiving the money is a lengthy one, Steinmetz said. Committee members agreed that a decision should be made quickly in the hopes that construction could begin next summer.