Councilman: Low-income Denver homeowners could get help with the cost of sidewalks

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Though a good part of Elyria-Swansea had accommodable sidewalks, a lack of infrastructure and upkeep is evident as well as cause for local groups to begin engaging city council. corridor of opportunity; eyria; swansea; infrastructure; globeville; development; sidewalks; puddles; rain; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty

A damaged sidewalk in Elyria-Swansea.

Currently, Denver requires homeowners to pay to install and maintain the sidewalks that run along their property. As a result, neighborhoods with less money also have fewer sidewalks. That may change, at least a bit.

The city will formally discuss a plan to help people with low-income homeowners pay to build or repair sidewalks, Councilman Paul Kashmann announced at a council meeting Monday.

The comments came during a discussion of possible amendments to the city's 2017 budget. Advocates have said the city budget doesn't do nearly enough to encourage alternative ways of getting around, starting with the simple act of walking.

Kashmann said he had thought about introducing a budget amendment related to sidewalks but would not because Mayor Michael Hancock has agreed to form a committee and dedicate staff to "ease the burden," he said.

Kashmann said providing help to low-income homeowners should remove a barrier to increasing enforcement around sidewalks.

The mayor's budget proposal does include money to address sidewalk gaps on the city's own properties. More context from Streetsblog:

The city has set aside some funds to repair and construct sidewalks adjacent to its lots, just like private property owners are required to do. Hancock reserved $2.5 million for sidewalks next to city property like libraries and parks (and, yes, golf courses).

While this will be an improvement over 2016, it’s still just a drop in the bucket compared to the $475 million needed for a complete sidewalk network.

The City Council will have one more chance to introduce budget amendments next week at its Nov. 7 meeting. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the budget Nov. 14.

Erica Meltzer contributed to this report.

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