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Fort Wayne announces sidewalk improvement plan

Statement as issued Tuesday by the city of Fort Wayne:

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Mayor Tom Henry today announced the City of Fort Wayne has developed a three-pronged sidewalk improvement plan that will begin in the 2014 construction season. The plan will address sidewalk and safety needs and benefit property owners/taxpayers who previously engaged in cost-share sidewalk projects with the City.

Highlights of the sidewalk improvement plan:

Planned improvements for 2014 include 10 miles of concrete street reconstruction. As part of those projects, contractors will also be asked to repair sidewalks and curb ramps in the areas that will receive concrete street work. This new approach will be an efficient method of performing multiple projects in the same areas at one time.

Public Works will bid sidewalk and curb ramp maintenance projects in selected neighborhoods that have asphalt streets.

The City Street Department will work on smaller scale sidewalk (trip hazard) projects in neighborhoods throughout the City.

Under the new sidewalk improvement plan, in most cases, property owners would no longer be responsible for cost-share sidewalk projects with the City. There may be instances where property owners would like to have additional sidewalk improvements occur. In those cases, the City is exploring options for cost-share partnerships.

The City plans to invest $500,000 in sidewalk maintenance in 2014. The investment is part of the overall $13.6 million for street and road maintenance next year without having to borrow money. The Mayor’s Administration and City Council will also consider the possibility of issuing a bond to begin work on the backlog of street and road projects. This would make additional dollars available for extra infrastructure projects in future construction seasons.

“Maintaining and enhancing our infrastructure is critical to being a City that’s positioned for growth and success,” said Mayor Henry. “We’re committed to a great quality of life and having strong neighborhoods. We can meet those expectations by having safe and dependable sidewalks that assist our efforts to be a tremendous City for citizens and businesses.”

“Our sidewalk plan is an excellent way to maximize our resources and make noticeable improvements in our neighborhoods,” said Public Works Director Bob Kennedy. “We know this is an issue that’s important to citizens and City Council members. We’re looking forward to our new approach to address sidewalk needs.”

Over the past year, Mayor Henry, the Fiscal Policy Group, elected officials, and business, community, and neighborhoods leaders have worked together to develop strategies that have placed the City in stronger financial position to be a vibrant, growing, and sustainable community for years to come.

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