Why is downtown sidewalk project so expensive?

August 09, 2004

Dear Editor:

After reading a recent article and then the editorial in Friday's Advocate-Messenger, I have only one question. How can it cost $499,000 to rebuild two city blocks worth of sidewalk?

Unless my math is faulty, the city is supposed to contribute $99,000 toward this project. Add that to a grant of $400,000 and it comes to a few peanuts shy of half million taxpayer dollars. Still relying on my math, the sidewalks that will be rebuilt include East Main in front of Burke's Bakery and SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church - a one-block length of sidewalk. The other project would replace the sidewalks that will be destroyed during the parking garage construction. By my calculations, this would be one-half block of Third Street and one-half block of Walnut Street bringing the grand total of sidewalk replacement to two city blocks on just one side of the street.


I'm not suggesting that the sidewalks not be rebuilt, I just want someone at city hall to tell me, how can it cost $499,000 to rebuild two city blocks worth of sidewalk? For just $131,000 more, we can get a brand new fire station!

Some recent letters from citizens have suggested it is time for some new leadership at city hall. If this city is planning to spend $499,000 on two city blocks of new sidewalk, I would like to suggest that we just need leadership because there doesn't appear to be any in place right now.

Gordon Weddle


Editor's note: Our apologies if a brief summary of the proposed downtown sidewalk work included in an editorial Friday was misleading to our readers.

According to Heart of Danville Executive Director Julie Wagner, who wrote the grant application on behalf of the city, the proposal includes a lot more than replacing a two blocks of sidewalks. In addition to replacing the sidewalk and adding pedestrian lighting between Second and First streets on the north side of Main, the proposal includes sidewalks, new street lights and burying utilities on Second Street between Main and Broadway. Wagner points out that putting utilities underground is very expensive.

In addition, she said, the grant application proposes improvements on both sides of Third Street between Main Street and Martin Luther King Blvd. In addition to new sidewalks, that work would include curbing, gutters, drainage, trees, and streetlights.

Furthermore, Wagner pointed out that the beautification project a few years ago on East Main Street, which included sidewalk replacement and burying utilities, cost $385,000, not counting another $100,000 that the city spent widening the street.

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