The Durango City Council settled on a method for levying assessments to gather funds for the first phase of a sidewalk reconstruction project at Tuesday's meeting.
The first phase of the project is set to begin in October and won't proceed beyond April 15, to accommodate the summer tourist season. Only the 500 and 600 blocks of Main Avenue and a portion of east Fifth Street will be affected by the first phase of construction, and only in sections that require repair.
Director of Public Works Jack Rogers said the full sidewalk reconstruction project will wrap up in three or four years with business owners responsible for half the cost for work abutting their property.
The formation of a sidewalk-improvement district was approved 5-0. No public commentary was offered.
The city will pay $450,000 to replace portions of sidewalk deemed failing by the Public Works Department. That money will accompany a $500,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
The sidewalk project has been in development since 2005. Some sections of Main Avenue's sidewalks have been pushed up by tree roots and are considered trip hazards. Some residents also complained about a lack of aesthetic consistency on Main. Grand revisions of Main were at first proposed; one plan called for a switch from three to four lanes with wider sidewalks but a bare-bones model was finally adopted.
When it's completed, 15 percent of Main Avenue's sidewalks will have been reconstructed. Rogers said, if properly installed, the sidewalks should be good for about 50 years. The sidewalk sections involved in the city's last sidewalk reconstruction project in 1990 are still holding up.
One small section of damaged sidewalk outside Fuzziwig's Candy Factory, housed in Unit 1 at 680 Main Avenue, will cost the city $470 to remove and replace. The owner of the retail space, Stilwell Limited Liability Company, will be responsible for half of that cost.
Other sections will cost more. Fourteen parcels in the 500 block and along east Fifth Street owned by Jackson and Jackson LLC will require reconstruction, with a total of $94,000 estimated to be paid by the owner. The largest single assessment will be $32,000 to replace the sidewalk surrounding an asphalt parking lot in the 500 block.
Mayor Leigh Meigs said the city was attempting to comply with constituent desires. She said the 15-percent plan was the option that received the most support at public meetings. Residents were also concerned with the project's duration and scope, she said, and hoped for a short project with minimal impact to affected businesses.