January 20, 2016

Sidewalks or no sidewalks, that is the question

By Kate Johnson

With a majority of city council members and city officials in attendance, the most recent city council meeting could be considered a short one, as Mayor Darrell Bjerke adjourned at the hour and fifteen minute mark. Being light on the items list, they were all still discussed to an understanding.
Sidewalks have been a topic before for this group. It was brought back up again to the council because there was confusion as to why city council had voted to take sidewalks out from their construction plans in Prairie Hills subdivision or, as some refer to it, 3rd Avenue. Since there were only a few council members present at the previous meeting that swung the gavel down for no sidewalks, it was up to those to shed light as to why sidewalks were taken out the first time. Councilwoman Kathy Kelsch believed the project was under time constraints and needed to have assessments done. Contractor Owen Voigt was present at the time but didn’t take any side, not knowing how his backers would feel. In order to move the project forward the council believed it would be easiest to just take them out. Because of other factors, this project did not move along like it had been expected to and didn’t end up getting to the bond-sale stage. Since bonds have not been sold, construction is not set in stone – which allows for this conversation to be revisted.
The bid that had already been gone through and accepted did have the option to add sidewalks. City Engineer Loren Daede weighed in on the conversation by saying that statement was true, that the sidewalks were in the plans, but the city had the option and chose to not go forward with them. Daede also presenting the work that came with the council’s change of heart in additive alternate sidewalks.


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