City commission discusses sidewalk replacement program

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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As per usual, the gathering of the Winchester City Commissioner featured both a 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. session on Tuesday, April 16. 

A few separate matters were discussed. 

At the 4:30 p.m. meeting, city of Winchester Public Works Director Brian Sewell introduced and provided further information on an anticipated sidewalk replacement program. 

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While the project is not yet underway, owing to the need to consider budgeting and other matters, the initial plans look promising. 

“I’m very pleased, and he did a good job tonight”, said recently retired, former city manager Mike Flynn. “Brian has taken this upon himself…he has vetted it with the Public Works Committee.” 

According to the project overview, the city has previously had programs in place designed to assist property owners with the maintenance of public sidewalks.

However, due to factors such as rising construction costs and a higher cost of living, there has been limited participation in current programs. 

This has led to an increase in safety hazards regarding community sidewalks. 

Thus, city staff determined that the programs are in need of revision. 

The proposal is to take initiative to replace sections of sidewalks deemed unsafe throughout Winchester, thus making a serious and positive impact on the community. 

Project goals include eliminating trip and fall hazards on all public sidewalks, ensuring compliance with ADA or the Americans with Disabilities Act, and promoting a safe and active lifestyle. 

A number of proposed solutions as well as budgeting matters were mentioned, along with stating what the community has to gain. 

For example, the program proposes to revise sidewalk maintenance ordinances to reflect the sidewalk replacement program, while listing and tracking any needed sidewalk repairs.

Cost estimates are that 75 cubic yards of concrete could cost approximately $22,000 based on current pricing, while the forming or pouring of sidewalk per cubic yard could equal $355. 

The project also correlates to three of the seven strategic areas identified in the Strategic Work Plan. 

Regarding a timeline, while nothing is thoroughly guaranteed just yet, preliminary estimations are that the project would take 10+ years. 

The City Commission also provided a Kentucky Urban & Community Forestry Assistant Grant. 

City Commissioner Hannah Toole spoke. 

“This is an effort from a lot of different people who are working to get some greenery downtown,” she said. 

Among other financial figures, $10,568 is being allocated to ensure tree roots don’t heave the sidewalks and interfere with underground utilities and more, while $20,000 is allocated for the contractual portion of the project.