Downtown property owners spent approximately $391,000 to make repairs to sidewalks, curbs and gutters this year.
The city planned to spend approximately $633,000 on fixing sidewalks, work that then is billed to the property or business owners.
Because owners had their own work done, city commissioners Tuesday night reduced the amount the city will spend to $242,000 for the 2013 Downtown Sidewalk, Curb and Gutter program.
“I appreciate all the property owners downtown taking responsibility,” said Commissioner Joyce Chilton.
City Engineer Leo Shanayda said letters were sent to property owners in the downtown last year to announce the project, which fixed every sidewalk in the area, ranging from North to High streets and Spring to Yellow Springs streets. The project also added handicap compliant ramps at the intersections, placed brick pavers in the core block and made improvements to alley approaches.
Owners had until June 1 to be under contract for the repairs, or the city would fix the sidewalks and bill the property owners. The city’s contractor began in May and completed the project last week.
Mayor Warren Copeland said the property owners save money by doing the work themselves. The city also saves time and energy by not having to collect money for the repairs.
“It’s great to see the number of folks who have just done it instead of going through the other process,” Copeland said. “It’s good news for everybody.”
Copeland said collecting the fees can become troublesome because some of the property owners live out of state.
The downtown sidewalk repairs will be completed in the next few weeks, but contractors are still working on the Fountain Avenue streetscape project. The work is being completed between the bridge and Main Street, which will include new sidewalks, streetlights and brick pavers. One section between Columbia and Main will also be converted into two-way traffic. The work is expected to be completed by Nov. 15, according to Shanayda.
“It’s a mess in the meantime, but I think it’s going to be great when it’s done,” Copeland said.
They’re also working on the area in front of the old PNC bank building, Shanayda said. There are also other sidewalk areas which are under contract and expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
Shanayda said the sidewalk improvements will spruce up the area, make it easier for pedestrians traveling downtown and enhance economic development opportunities.
“We’re getting more and more people walking in the downtown area,” Shanayda said. “It just goes to show the amount of people that did the work themselves that they care about their properties.”
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