Deteriorating sidewalks concern Ellis Harbor residents

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Not everyone’s front door looks like Jake Brummer’s, opening onto a dock walkway that connects his boathouse to land.

Portions of the sidewalk at Ellis Harbor in Cedar Rapids are severely cracked and sitting at an angle, sloped down toward the water. (MARY GREEN/KCRG)

“It’s a very unique experience,” Brummer said.

With the unique experience that comes with living at northwest Cedar Rapids’ Ellis Harbor also come unique issues, like deteriorating sidewalks.

“The sidewalks are everything because they’re attached to the walls that hold our houses to the land,” Brummer said.

In some spots of Ellis Harbor, at which about 200 people living full- and part-time, Brummer said the sidewalks are flat-out dangerous because they’re anything but flat.

“It’s a matter of time before someone slips and falls and something bad happens because of it,” he said.

Portions of the sidewalk are severely cracked and sitting at an angle, sloped down toward the water.

One section fell into the water several years ago and is still wrapped off by orange fencing, but has yet to be fixed.

Brummer said residents at Ellis Harbor pay around $600 a year in fees to the City of Cedar Rapids but haven’t seen that money put into enough repairs.

“We feel like we’re being left behind,” he said.

However, that money is going somewhere, according to the City of Cedar Rapids.

“In the last three years, we’ve spent about $470,000 worth of improvements down there, so there has been some funding going in there,” Parks & Recreation Director Scott Hock said.

Hock said the city collects about $140,000 each year from those resident fees, which cover more issues than sidewalk repairs.

“The mowing, the trash removal, taking the slips and docks in and out, all of those things happen as part of that,” he said.

This summer, the city redid about 380 feet of sidewalk at the harbor, which Hock said costs about $260,000, while about 6,000 more feet remain to be fixed.

“As funds become available, we’ll keep making improvements down there,” Hock said. “But the total for just the sidewalk alone, not including the sheet piling and the ADA and some of those other issues, is about $3.5 million.”

Brummer said he doesn’t expect all that work to happen in just a year, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for him.

“We want to see more than the 300 feet we got after more or less begging for 30 years,” he said.

He worries about what’ll happen if the sidewalk stays like it is for too long.

“At the point, it’s in, I don’t think it’s an ‘if’ anymore; it’s a ‘when’ is somebody going to take that fall,” he said.