Mayor aims to improve sidewalks in downtown Aurora

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin admits the city has "spotty sidewalks downtown," but says her goal is to improve them.

An initial connectivity proposal was submitted to City Council by the administration.

Part of it would connect the existing sidewalks on the north side of Route 82 from Bissell Road to Route 306. The other part would extend the sidewalk on the west side of Route 43, south of Pioneer Trail to Aurora-Hudson Road.

The project has not been voted on by Council, but $100,000 has already been budgeted for connectivity in this year's budget. The bids came in higher ($158,000), "but we have money available to complete the work if Council wishes to do so," Womer Benjamin said.

"Council has generally been very supportive of connectivity, and I expect would like to see it get started quickly," she said. "Our expectation would be to start the project right after Council approves the bid and complete the project yet this fall, assuming the weather cooperates."

Womer Benjamin said one of the city's goals "should be to use what we have, and connect those existing sidewalks to retail, school and recreation areas.

"In addition, for this first proposal, we tried to find areas where the city would get the most benefit with the fewest complications, such as the need to obtain rights of way or move poles," she said.

"Ultimately, I'd like to see sidewalks connecting the Bissell / Route 82 area to Aurora Farms, with further connections to the schools," she said. "I'd also like to plan to do some of the school paths / sidewalks with the city's own resources since the city has not obtained Safe Routes to School funding."

Womer Benjamin said most of the city's new plans for both sidewalks and parking "are proceeding very well, with consideration for a variety of public interests and community needs and wants.

"I know government is viewed by many as being slow and cumbersome; that's because people can learn and be involved and weigh in if they want to, which some have done," she said.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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