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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • City proposes new sidewalk reimbursement program

  • The city of Leavenworth already has a program that pays property owners half of the cost of repairing or replacing sidewalks.
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  • The city of Leavenworth already has a program that pays property owners half of the cost of repairing or replacing sidewalks.
    But officials are proposing a program that would pay 100 percent of the cost for repairs to sidewalks adjacent to commercial properties that are undergoing major improvements.
    Representatives of the city’s Public Works Department reviewed the proposal Tuesday with the Leavenworth City Commission.
    Commissioners took no formal action on the proposal, which was presented during a study session. They reached a consensus to move forward with the proposal so it can be brought back for a future vote.
    Mike McDonald, director of public works, said the existing program that pays 50 percent of the cost is open to businesses and homeowners. The city pays up to 50 percent of $5 per square foot.
    The new program, if approved, would be available only for owners or occupants of properties that are zoned for commercial use.
    Under proposed guidelines reviewed by McDonald, an applicant would have to be making improvements to a commercial property that equal at least 50 percent of the property’s value in order to receive money for repairs to an adjacent sidewalk.
    “And they have to be kind of bad sidewalks to start with,” McDonald said.
    The program would provide reimbursement for 100 percent of the cost of the sidewalk repairs or at a rate of $5 per square foot, whichever is less.
    McDonald outlined other components of the program for city commissioners.
    Commissioner Phil Urban questioned the requirement that an applicant has to be making an investment in a building that is at least 50 percent of the property’s value.
    He said a person making an investment of $50,000 to $75,000 wouldn’t qualify for the sidewalk program if his or her building is worth $200,000.
    “You’ve got to have a guideline,” Urban said. “I know that.”
    But he suggested lowering the threshold to 25 percent of a property’s value. He said 50 percent might disqualify people who are doing major projects.
    Bob Patzwald, deputy public works director, said people who can’t reach a threshold set for the proposed program could still qualify for the existing program that pays for 50 percent of the cost.

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