Sidewalk plans on Homewood City Council agenda
HOMEWOOD, Alabama -- The Homewood City Council has identified where it wants to build its next sidewalks and plans to approve that list at its meeting tonight.
The council culled a list of 45 areas recommended by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham for sidewalks then narrowed that list to 12 areas during a work session last week.
The chosen sidewalks represent 11,377 feet of concrete at a cost of about $980,000.
In this year's 2011-12 capital improvements budget, city officials allocated $900,000 for new sidewalks and $100,000 for sidewalk improvements to address residential demands for more sidewalks throughout Homewood.
The council in October asked the regional planning commission to develop a thoroughfare improvement plan for roads, sidewalks and trails in Homewood.
The commission recommended 45 areas for sidewalks at a cost of $4.6 million and ranked projects from highest to medium priority. Councilman Peter Wright said the council stayed true to the ranking for the most part.
Council members considered safety concerns, proximity to schools and sidewalks that bridge gaps between neighborhoods in their decision on which sidewalks to build first.
"Our list isn't too far from what the RPC recommended as high priority," Wright said.
Four of the city's five wards have two new sidewalk projects with the exception of Ward 5, which stands to receive one new sidewalk this go-round.
However, Ward 5 will receive about $100,000 to improve existing sidewalks.
"Our sidewalks are some of the oldest in the city," Wright said, a representative of Ward 5 in the Hollywood section of Homewood.
Sidewalk improvements would likely be done in-house by city crews whereas new sidewalks would likely be put out for bid, Wright added.
Council President Allyn Holladay said the council hopes to leverage federal Safe Routes to School funds to build sidewalks closest to its elementary schools. "We used that as our guide in what to pick as a priority," she said.
If the 11-member council approves the sidewalk projects tonight, it hopes to move quickly to get projects started, council members said.
"Everybody pretty much knew what their constituents wanted. I think everyone is pleased," Holladay said concerning council members' selection of new sidewalks within their wards. "It's a limited amount of money so we can't do everything now. We just have to get moving."