On Monday, the Newton City Council passed a resolution ordering bids, approving plans, specifications and form of contract and notice to bidders, and ordering to publish notice and fixing a date for receiving same for the 2014 City Wide Sidewalk ADA Ramp & Sidewalk Connection Improvements.
Newton resident Craig Weaver presented the concerns of himself and his neighbors on East 23rd Street North. Weaver’s parents bought a house in the neighborhood in 1970, which Weaver purchased the same house in 2003.
“I have lived in this house for the past 30 years,” Weaver said. “On Saturday night, my wife and I talked with many of our neighbors on the west side of the street, but this is about why I feel you shouldn’t build a sidewalk on the west of East 23rd Street North.”
Weaver’s conversation with his neighbors brought about a conversation of what would be better to spend the city money on rather than sidewalks.
“One of my neighbors said, ‘I would rather see the city spend the money to fix the sanitary sewers, so the water doesn’t back up into my basement,'” Weaver said. “It's an interesting perspective from someone who has lived into the community for only three years.”
Weaver has seen some opposition from discussion with his neighbors.
“Another one of my neighbors said, ‘Your wife and you always walk up and down the street ,” so why are you against this sidewalk?”
Weaver’s concern was the build up of snow and ice on the sidewalk and the look of his property with a storm drain in his yard.
“I am concerned with the drop of property value due to the storm drain,” Weaver said. “I also wonder who will be liable if someone was to get injured on my property due to the additions made by the city.”
The City Attorney, Matthew Brick answered the question concerning the liability issue.
“The idea of liability wouldn’t be the issue, it would be the of trespassing on your property would be the concern,” Brick said. “I am emphasizing this as free legal advice.”
Newton citizen George Comer also adressed his concern on the possible addition of the new sidewalks would be a burden of the additional cost of snow removal.
“If the city was going to pay for the up keep on the sidewalk, I would have no concern,” Comer said.
The current resolution has set to get the opening bids and starting plans for the project.
Further steps in the resolution will be presented at the first city council meeting in May.