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City project aims to fill sidewalks, help property owners

The city of Dickinson hopes to fill gaps in its sidewalks in as many as 19 areas this summer while also funding sidewalk installation and repairs for private owners. The annual city program is in its fourth year, Craig Kubas, city engineer, expla...

A city of Dickinson program would complete this sidewalk on 15th Street, ending at Lift Station 12, over the city spillway to 14th Street West, at Jefferson Creek Apartments. The program also will allow private property owners to repair their sidewalks or install new ones. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)
A city of Dickinson program would complete this sidewalk on 15th Street, ending at Lift Station 12, over the city spillway to 14th Street West, at Jefferson Creek Apartments. The program also will allow private property owners to repair their sidewalks or install new ones. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

The city of Dickinson hopes to fill gaps in its sidewalks in as many as 19 areas this summer while also funding sidewalk installation and repairs for private owners.

The annual city program is in its fourth year, Craig Kubas, city engineer, explained.

"The city allocates some of our general fund dollars to have property owners in town either replace, repair or install sidewalks on their property," Kubas said.

The program's budget this year has nearly tripled, from roughly $75,000 to $215,000.

A new feature this year, private property owners can now use the program for installing new sidewalks.

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Property owners would use the city's contractor to construct their sidewalks, then repay the city through special assessments that are placed on their property, Kubas said.

"The city basically pays for it upfront and is reimbursed by the landowner, so the land owner can spread their cost over several years instead of having to pay it all up front," he said.

A priority for the city is closing gaps in sidewalks on its property.

"There's been a push by the city commission the last couple of years to increase what we call our 'sidewalk connectivity' so people can start on one end of town and walk all the way to the other end of town, and never have to walk out onto the streets," Kubas said.

Areas targeted for this summer include a sidewalk along 15th Street, at its Lift Station 12, and at Dickinson Cemetery, along 10th Avenue East, and the nearby mausoleum.

"There's a lot of areas in town that for whatever reason a sidewalk wasn't installed," Kubas said. "This year, the city wants to set an example for the community and have a lot of those areas installed with new sidewalks."

A voluntary program right now, it will likely become mandatory in the future, Kubas said. The city would then prioritize installing sidewalks.

"I would look at the high pedestrian traffic areas," Kubas said. "Schools, parks, churches, things like that, that generate a lot of walking traffic. Medical facilities even. Commercial districts."

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In addition to being a convenience, having sidewalks allows the city to comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It's been a long-standing policy in Dickinson that properties have concrete sidewalks," Kubas said. "Even in the oldest parts of town, in the downtown areas, we have sidewalks installed. As the city grew over time, those areas that we missed with installing sidewalks, we want to fill in those gaps, creating that connectivity."

Bids for the project will be received by the city April 11.

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