Dubuque city council hopeful grant allows JFK Road sidewalks project to move forward

Published: Nov. 20, 2021 at 10:10 AM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Dubuque city council members say lack of sidewalks mean safety and accessibility issues are at play at John F. Kennedy Road, especially since that road contains a combination of residential and student population.

A project to add sidewalks, though, has faced opposition from neighbors for years, primarily because they would need to pay for the installation of the sidewalks on their properties.

”The residents of JFK that I spoke with were not necessarily opposed to it but they were concerned with the fact that, right after the pandemic, it was being brought up for an assessment,” Susan Farber, a council member, said.

The project is slated to cost more than $351,810, but Farber said that is why the city applied and received a $190,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant. That means property owners there would only have to pay for $80,526 of the project.

”Based on the fact that it is not in 2021, that it really does not begin until mid-year, the project, for 2022, it is going to be a little more relaxation on the personal budgets of those that are mostly concerned,” Farber said.

Those more than $80,000 will be divided between the property owners depending on property value. For a property owner, that could be the difference between paying $4,000 or paying $2,000.

The city will pay for about $81,200 of the project, which includes retaining walls, changing potential topography to accommodate sidewalks, as well as ADA ramps.

Farber explained that for those property owners who have certain income thresholds, there will be some funding available, as well as other opportunities for a 15-year payback period.

A public hearing on the project is scheduled for December 6. According to Farber, the project must have three-quarters of the council’s approval. If 75% of the citizens that are in that residential area petition the city council for review, then there would need to be 100% approval by the city council and mayor.

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