SYCAMORE – Sycamore residents can receive city help if they replace damaged and dangerous sidewalks by their homes.
City officials will reimburse residents $3 per square foot of regular sidewalk and $4 per square foot of sidewalk on driveways.
It costs roughly $7 to replace one square foot of sidewalk, so the city could increase its contribution from $3 to $3.50 to reach the 50-50 split it desires.
During Monday night’s City Council meeting, City Manager Brian Gregory said demand for the annual $25,000 program has been mixed in the past few years.
In fiscal 2010, the city spent $17,854, and in fiscal 2011 it spent $20,458. The city spent only $7,606 last year.
More funding is available for sidewalks this year because $40,000 from leftover infrastructure bonds was dedicated to sidewalk improvements. Gregory said the city would use that money to improve sidewalks by West Elementary School and Sycamore High School.
He said the city should be able to replace more than 250 squares with the $40,000.
But with the city paying the full price for some sidewalk replacement, First Ward Alderman Alan Bauer said it could be difficult and possibly unfair to persuade some residents to split the cost of sidewalk replacement with the city.
Fourth Ward Alderwoman Janice Tripp agreed, specifically pointing to residents on Charles Street who have seen deterioration of curb and sidewalk conditions.
“I would sure hate to come by and tell them to fix their sidewalk,” she said.
All council members agreed the program is useful and said they will walk their wards to identify problem areas and encourage residents to use the service.
Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy said it is a program that’s rare in most communities.
“Fifty-50 is a pretty good deal,” Mundy said. “I don’t think you would find that generosity looking at other communities.”
Aldermen and city officials also talked about identifying future funding sources because there is a limited amount of money in the program. Gregory said the city would have to stretch the money the best it can.
“There is not an infinite source of revenue here,” he said. “We’ll try to do what we can with it.”