The costs to clear and repair the Fourth Ave. pedestrian walkway blocked by storm debris and downed trees will exceed $40,000, City Operations Manager Richard Pucci told City Council on June 13.
One way to cover the funding for such an endeavour is to use money already allocated for the Odd Eidsvik Park drainage repair in preparation for a park retrofit. Out of several options for funding, council voted in favour of the suggested motion to use the drainage funds to repair the walkway.
A petition of more than 130 signatures requesting the reopening and maintenance of the public walkway leading into the down core was presented to city council at the May 23 meeting. As a result of the public’s action, Mayor Herb Pond instructed city staff to look into repair costs.
Pucci explained at Monday night’s meetings that on January 19, a severe storm caused a tree to fall across the pathway, lodging debris against the decking, which caused significant damage.
“We closed the pathway due to health and safety concerns. The reason we did this was because of the age of the structure and the build quality,” he said, adding structural rot, potential shifting of pedestal posts and rain increased concern about code compliance on the entire structure, including the stairs.
The operations director said funding could come through the city’s paving program. However, that would mean a reduction in road paving. He also suggested using funds allocated to the Odd Eidsvik Park drainage project despite not yet receiving the grant funds. Using these funds would delay the project until 2024, which needs to be completed before a park refurbishment.
There is also parks operation money that could be used, Pucci said, but it would reduce the overall parks budget meaning a reduction in services. Lastly, the walkway repairs could be delayed and budgeted for work in 2024.
He said the city does understand how many people use the 4th Ave. walkway and that there is another one on Agnew, but it is further down the street.
“We know the absolute minimum costs are between $35,000 to $40,000,” Pucci said. “Any major repairs outside of that will require me to come back to council and figure out how to pay for any structural repairs that need to be completed.”