KALISPELL, Mont. - Kalispell's Public Works department feels their Sidewalk Improvement Program is a way to meet residents halfway on cost, as landowners are responsible for maintaining the area outside of their homes. Resident Ashley Mason doesn't like the sidewalk in front of her home on 3rd Avenue East, and has complained about it for a few years.
"My sister-in-law fell and hurt herself pretty badly out front a couple winters ago," said Mason. "It's definitely a concern particularly during an icy winter."
That's where the city comes in. Homeowners who feel their sidewalk is a potential hazard or less than pleasing to the eye can sign up for the city's Sidewalk Improvement Project.
"Older sidewalks, they've been here for 30 plus years," said Public Works Director Susie Turner. "You get that weathered erosion on the sidewalk and it starts to break apart. [Residents] approach us because they want to make the front of their house improvement with that sidewalk."
"For sure we've had people injured out there," continued Mason. "In the evening when it's dark and you cannot see the big ledges the maple trees have made. It's dangerous."
Residents who qualify meet the city 50/50 on the repairs, which show up on their property tax bills. Turner said the project replaced about 5 blocks worth of sidewalks in 2012 alone. With $35,000 allotted to this year's SIP, there's still more to be done.
"We have a list that we work with and as that money runs out we push that list to next year as it goes through," said Turner.
While Mason says her family will probably wait a few more years before they meet the city halfway, they like that the city provides a program to make Kalispell a more beautiful place to live.
"We're proud to be where we are and I think the city does a good job," said Mason.
For more on the Sidewalk Improvement Project, call Public works at 406-758-7720.