Mayor Tom Henry today unveiled plans to make it easier for residents to partner with the City of Fort Wayne to fix neighborhood sidewalks and curbs.
Mayor Henry’s plan restructures the cost sharing program for repairing neighborhood public sidewalks, increasing the financial contribution from the City and decreasing the investment requested from property owners.
Through the City’s Barrett Law petition program, the City will increase its participation to 50 percent of the concrete sidewalk and curb projects petitioned by residents for public walks abutting their property. Previously, the sidewalk repair was a 60/40 split with residents paying 60 percent of the improvement costs and the City paying 40 percent.
The savings to residents varies by the size of the project. Using an example of a $1,000 sidewalk improvement project, the resident will now save $100. Under the former system the property owner would have paid $600 as their share of the improvement but with the 50/50 plan they will only pay $500.
“Maintaining and enhancing our infrastructure is critical to being a City that’s positioned for growth and success,” said Mayor Henry. “It keeps our neighborhoods strong, enhances our quality of life and keeps our community moving in the right direction.”
“This is an important improvement for residents and neighborhoods across the City. It allows us to maximize resources and make noticeable improvements that will improve safety for pedestrians,” said Public Works Director Bob Kennedy.
In 2014, Mayor Henry became the first mayor in the City’s history to dedicate funding for sidewalk maintenance. At that time, Mayor Henry announced $500,000 in Public Works funds would be invested each year in sidewalk maintenance, fixing badly broken sidewalks and trip hazards. With 1,600 miles of sidewalks in the City, it could take 10 years to fix all trip hazards, but the changes to the cost-share partnership will allow residents to make those improvements sooner.
The proposed change will go to the Board of Public Works for approval at its regular meeting next Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Those residents who have asked to participate in sidewalk and curb cost-share repair projects this year will get the benefit of the new cost-share structure.