VALPARAISO | Work on the Vale Park West pathway has been put on hold because of a shortage of funds in the city's Redevelopment Commission budget.
The city hired The Troyer Group in July for about $148,000 to design a pathway from Keystone Commons to Windsor Park Estates. The route was to go south from Keystone Commons to connect with a path through the high school property to Campbell Street. It would then go west along the north border of three subdivisions on Harrison Boulevard.
Eventually it would cross Beauty Creek and connect with West Wind Court in Windsor Park. The projected cost of the pathway was about $1.5 million, and the city hoped to get 80 percent funded by a federal congestion mitigation and air quality program grant through the Federal Highway Administration.
The proposed route aroused concern from residents in the Oak Grove, Manchester Meadows and Harrison West subdivisions who were concerned about having their privacy and security threatened by people using the pathway. The property now is farmed, and the city proposed a buffer berm between the homes and the pathway.
Stuart Summers, the redevelopment commission's executive director, told the commission at Thursday's meeting he had halted Troyer's work on the project after the commission received $1.4 million less than it expected for this year's project budget because of a large number of tax appeals being settled and refunds paid.
Summers said the commission could lose another $1 million from appeals still pending. Troyer had hired a surveyor to do the preliminary examination of the proposed route, and having those people in the area had again aroused residents protests. Troyer so far has been paid $38,436.
The plan was to complete the engineering and design of the pathway this year and arrange for the federal funding and then build it in 2014. Summers said it's more likely to be a 2015 or 2016 project now. The city's engineering department will review the survey information and the route until a decision can be made on how to fund the project.