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Published January 17, 2012, 10:10 PM

City to Cover Entire Cost of New Sidewalk Along Belmont Road

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A stretch of about five blocks along south Belmont Road in Grand Forks was causing a stir between homeowners and city council members. The city is putting in a sidewalk there, and the council needed to decide how to pay for it.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A stretch of about five blocks along south Belmont Road in Grand Forks was causing a stir between homeowners and city council members. The city is putting in a sidewalk there, and the council needed to decide how to pay for it.

Monday night the city council decided to pick up the entire cost of that sidewalk. The five foot wide sidewalk will be installed on the east side of Belmont Road between 47th Avenue South and 52nd Avenue South.

The city is treating this project as a temporary sidewalk, and will pay for it out of funds from the 2012 Bike Path Maintenance Fund.

"Whoever is living in those homes five or fifteen years from now, that's how that will be paid for, as it was paid for on 47th (Avenue South) and as Belmont(Road) from 47th (Avenue South) to 32nd (Avenue South) was paid for," Ward 5 City Council Member Doug Christensen said.

The sidewalk will have be torn up in the future when Belmont Road is widened, and curb and gutter are added. So council members like Christensen don't think homeowners should be assessed twice.

"I came basically not to oppose a sidewalk per say, but two sidewalks, so paying for two sidewalks. So it sounds like there was a good solution, which I really appreciate," Belmont Road Resident Kim Wilson commented.

"Why do we need one now? And why spend the money, you know $100,000, $92,000 whatever it is, to do it now when you're going to redo it and make a good one in 15 years or so?" Belmont Road Resident Jib Wilson asked the city council.

Council members say the sidewalk is important now for safety reasons.

"So if they're going down Belmont right now they have to literally be in the road or in the ditch. And the point is we want to get them out of the road and out of the ditch," Ward 1 City Council Member Terry Bjerke said.

"Those (homeowners) right now that will have a bike path won't pay for it. We'll accommodate the safety needs," Christensen added.

The sidewalk will connect with the existing bike trail at the south end drainway, which is at about 52nd Avenue South. An earlier proposal assessed homeowners on both sides of Belmont Road for that 5 block stretch.

The motion to use the Bike Path Maintenance Fund to pay for the entire project passed unanimously Monday night. Christensen said that fund currently has about $350,000 in it.

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