Residents in Eau Claire disagree over sidewalks near Memorial Hi - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Residents in Eau Claire disagree over sidewalks near Memorial High

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- A plan for sidewalks is dividing an Eau Claire neighborhood. 

At the city council meeting Monday, residents from a neighborhood near Memorial High School are voicing their opinions about the proposal. 

One Taft Avenue resident said she's not happy about the proposal. Carol Rudd recently moved to the neighborhood and said she's all for construction on the roads, but doesn't want the sidewalks. 

"The sidewalk itself would be about a third of the cost, and as a new homeowner in this area with our taxes going up because of renovations, I can't see the need for us to pay more and have a bigger tax burden because of that," said Rudd. 

Robert Parrish and other neighbors said they'd like having sidewalks on Keith Street because it's a busier road, and sidewalks would improve safety.

Many students from Memorial High School park in that neighborhood. 
 
City Engineer Dave Solberg said since the streets in that neighborhood need improvements, it only makes sense to put in the sidewalks while they're doing updates in that area. 

"So, our current ordinance said if you're within a half a mile of a school, streets should have sidewalks to help children get to school, and for safer access. So, any improvements we can make at this time is going to be the lowest-cost time to make it. We're trying to look out into the future for that project," said Solberg.

Solberg said the cost depends on the width of each homeowners' lots, and contractors charge per square foot of sidewalks.

He said property owners are assessed an added $3.50 per square foot of sidewalk, which could add $1,100-$1,400 to a home's assessed value, and of course, that value is what property taxes are based on.

The city council public hearing begins Monday at 7:00 p.m., and councilors will vote on the issue Tuesday.  

News 18 will continue to follow this issue and bring you updates on Tuesday.
 

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