Lacey says sidewalks are too expensive.
During Monday’s public hearing by the City’s Board of Zoning Adjustments, Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Lacey explained that the school district would like to eliminate the required sidewalk along 14th Street Northwest at CMR High School because she would “rather spend bond money on educational spaces”, and presumably not on safety features like sidewalks.
At the meeting, Lacey said “it wouldn’t be useful to add a sidewalk along 14th Avenue Northwest.” Not so, said a neighboring property owner who spoke as an opponent to the exemption. With a view of the required sidewalk’s route, she reported that a number of pedestrians presently have to walk in the street which puts them at risk from the vehicular traffic on 14th Street.
Lacey’s power point presentation indicated that the required sidewalk would cost $100,000. Research of construction cost estimating sites list concrete sidewalk construction cost to be a high of $10.00 per square foot, yielding a much lower estimate of $60,000 for 1,200 lineal feet of a five-foot wide sidewalk.
“The way I see it, the school district committed a colossal mistake by first cutting down a boatload of mature trees without a permit, or prior approval, at Great Falls High School and now wants to disregard the City’s Development Standards, which exist to protect people’s safety.”
Required maintenance costs, such as snow removal, was one of the reasons Lacey gave for the District’s request for exemption from City Development Standards requiring sidewalks. To which the neighboring property owner responded by saying “you own the property and therefore have a responsibly to maintain it”.
Further making the case against the construction of the sidewalk, Lacey said that the existing trees would make it difficult, if not impossible, to construct the sidewalk. The above drawing clearly indicates that the trees would not present a problem.
The way I see it, the school district committed a colossal mistake by first cutting down a boatload of mature trees without a permit, or prior approval, at Great Falls High School and now wants to disregard the City’s Development Standards, which exist to protect people’s safety.