Council approves projectNecessity of sidewalk as part of paving discussed
The need for sidewalks and curb and gutter on South 12th Avenue and East Tyler Street were discussed as the Washington City Council approved a resolution for a paving project in the area.
The plan for the paving calls for a five-foot sidewalk on the east side of 12th and the south side of Tyler. Council member Bob Shellmyer asked what the city would do if the property owners choose not to have a sidewalk. He offered to go door to door and survey the people to determine if they want a sidewalk. He said that the council members have a tendency to vote for issues based on their personal feelings, rather than represent the people who elected them to serve.
“Even though legally we can do it, is there a possibility that we can consider doing what the public wants for a change?” Shellmyer asked.
Council member Bob Shepherd said that the sidewalk part of the project is being done because when the streets were originally paved the sidewalks would have gone “to nowhere.” He said now there are several blocks with no sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street.
“It is very difficult to convince a homeowner after the fact of the necessity,” Shepherd said. “Since it is part of the project and part of our code to put it in, this is the opportune time to put it in as part of the project.”
City administrator Brent Hinson said that the sidewalk would link back to existing sidewalk.
He said if the project were approved, the city would have a neighborhood meeting to discuss the project. He said the aesthetics of the area would improve and that the property owners would get the ends of their driveways paved.
“The improvement to the neighborhood will be enormous,” Hinson said.
The council unanimously approved the resolution.
The council also approved renewing a resolution of support for Main Street Washington for another three years starting July 1.
Main Street Washington director Sarah Sadrakula said that the Main Street Iowa program had alerted her that the Washington agreement is running out and that the resolution was part of renewing the agreement.
“Obviously we have had some real success here as a Main Street community over the last five years and we would like to continue to grow downtown,” she said.
Sadrakula said the Main Street Washington program had hit the $5 million reinvestment mark for building renovations in the downtown area. She said that the Washington Incentive Fund has enabled the program to leverage money for renovations.
During the discussion, Shellmyer asked about doing something about the crosswalks in the downtown area. He said there are hunks of concrete broken out. He said the crosswalks are going to get bad within three years. Sadrakula said that the Main Street program isn’t in charge of the street program. Hinson said that the crosswalks are a city responsibility and could be addressed during discussions on expansion of the streetscape project.
“That is not going to be a cheap fix by any means and it will certainly present a level of disruption,” Hinson said.
Council member Jaron Rosien expressed support for Main Street, as well as the Washington Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Economic Development Group, saying they keep Washington viable.
In other business, the council:
• approved a site plan recommendation from the planning and zoning committee on Marshall’s Furniture;
• endorsed an application from the Washington Park Board to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation for grant funds for park benches;
• approved the third reading of a drug paraphernalia ordinance; and
• approved the third reading of a flood plain ordinance.