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City Leaders Mull Sidewalk Plan

BLOOMINGTON - A lot of attention in Bloomington is on $10 million worth of road repairs this year. On Monday night, city council learned nearly 70 miles of its sidewalks are lacking, too.
BLOOMINGTON - A lot of attention in Bloomington is on $10 million worth of road repairs this year.  On Monday night, city council learned nearly 70 miles of its sidewalks are lacking, too.

It's one thing that has always stood out to long-time Bloomington resident Tim Fenton about his neighborhood.

"My sidewalk was really beat up,” said Fenton. “So, I'm very appreciative of that, and from a safety perspective."

City public works director Jim Karch says the city's master plan will take a block by block approach over the next 10 years. It's a plan where the changes will last longer than road repairs, because they don’t endure the same wear and tear.

"There's a lot of sidewalk that still is crumbling. There are a lot of times where there are just displacement in the sidewalk that causes some tripping concerns,” said Karch,

According to the study brought to council, the city of Bloomington has 67 miles of sidewalks rated a four or below (on a scale of 1-10). Many are in the same neighborhoods.

"People can't get around safely,” said Ald. Scott Black. “We have some tripping hazards. We take care of our citizens, and we also have to keep in mind the citizens who are in wheelchairs and are disabled and have to get around. It's important to take care of those folks as well."

It's a plan that council members say they can get behind, especially if it preserves the old-time feel.

"We've got to revitalize our historic inner-city neighborhoods, if we're going to survive as a city,” said Ald. Judy Stearns.

Once crews are done paving his block, Fenton's sidewalk can finally be completed.

"It's going to be so much nicer when it gets done. So, I just have to be patient,” said Fenton.

The city has 6,200 curbs that it needs to make ADA-compliant.


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