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City to link sidewalks to street projects

– The city of Fort Wayne has developed a three-pronged sidewalk improvement plan for the 2014 construction season.

Officials were already planning 10 miles of concrete street reconstruction in 2014. Now, as part of those projects, contractors will also be asked to repair sidewalks and curb ramps in those areas, an efficient method of performing multiple projects in the same areas at one time, officials said.

The Board of Public Works will also bid sidewalk and curb ramp maintenance projects in other selected neighborhoods, and the Street Department will work on smaller-scale sidewalk projects in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Under the new plan, in most cases, property owners would no longer be responsible for cost-share sidewalk projects. In instances where property owners would like to have additional sidewalk improvements occur, the city is exploring options for cost-share partnerships. Officials said the city plans to invest $500,000 in sidewalk maintenance in 2014, part of the overall $13.6 million for street and road maintenance.

“Our sidewalk plan is an excellent way to maximize our resources and make noticeable improvements in our neighborhoods,” Public Works Director Bob Kennedy said. “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.”