CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

Windsor Heights Moving Closer to Building Sidewalks in Residential Areas Despite Concerns

WINDSOR HEIGHTS, Iowa -- The city of Windsor Heights is moving one step closer to building sidewalks in residential areas.

The issue has been a contentious one in that community, where many homeowners simply do not want the sidewalks and have been very vocal in their opposition.

On Colby Avenue, neighbors who live directly across the street from each other have different points of view on whether there should be a sidewalk on their street.

“If it really was a safety issue, that would be a whole different ball game, but it`s not a problem to walk in the streets," said Coleen Kelleher. "So then it comes down to money. The city can`t afford it, personally, we can`t afford it. Many of the residents can`t afford it.”

"I think that sidewalks would enhance our community," said Jodi Stanfield. "I think that expense should be shared amongst the city because it enhances the livability of our city and makes it more desirable for people who might want to move here.”

At the city council meeting Monday night, a financial advisor gave a presentation saying that Windsor Heights is in great financial standing, with Aa3 credit ratings from Moody's.

Still, many homeowners believe that the cost of the sidewalks will be passed onto them in tax increases and/or the cost of having to remove trees from their front yard.

The city says those details still have to be worked out, but one way or another making Windsor Heights pedestrian friendly or having "walkability" is going to happen.

“I ran on this idea of something that was addressed early on, July of last year, which was the complete streets program," said Zachary Bales-Henry, City Council Member. "It doesn`t necessarily mean sidewalks everywhere, but I think having walkability, having safety, and having an ADA, especially in a community that`s an aging population, we need to be able to accommodate people that are in wheelchairs or walkers or who are blind.”

“Well, that`s crap, forgive me but that`s crap," said Bill Donohoe. "You don`t run to get sidewalks and that`s their problem. If they think they got permission because they got hired on. This is a small community; not very many ran for city council. I will tell you, if that`s what they want, if they wait, they won`t get elected the next time probably.”

Another concern many elderly homeowners have about the sidewalks is having to shovel snow off of them. The city says its considering creating a volunteer program to help address that concern.