VALPARAISO | A proposed sidewalk to provide public access to view the Thorgren Basin detention pond on Roosevelt Road brought questions from the city's Utilities Board as to who should pay for sidewalks.
Chief Deputy City Engineer Adam McAlpine asked the board Tuesday for permission to use the city's sidewalk contractor to install the walk from the south end of the basin to Evans Avenue. The basin, built in 2012, was designed to have a public access component for residents to see the environmental benefits of the project.
McAlpine said the city plans to plant 30 to 40 trees and other water-tolerant plants as part of the naturalization of the basin. Designed to have water in it year-round, the basin has a meandering channel to slow the storm water and let the silt and pollutants settle out before the water enters the stormwater system.
The sidewalk project received a $20,000 grant from the city's Redevelopment Commission and another $20,000 from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority to be used for the public access portion, which McAlpine said could someday include landscaping and benches in addition to information signs explaining the project.
The utilities board budgeted $40,000 from its stormwater funds for the project too, and McAlpine estimated the cost of the sidewalk portion at $53,500. Board President David Bengs asked why the board was being asked to pay for the sidewalk.
Bengs said the board paid for the detention basin, and the sidewalk should be the public works department's responsibility. McAlpine said the sidewalk is more a part of the educational component of the project than a sidewalk for general use. Also the funding from the RDA is specifically for the public access portion of the project.
Board members said the walk will connect to Evans and provide a sidewalk for residents of the area. Bengs added, "It's the right thing to do but the wrong way to fund it."
The board told McAlpine to ask public works for money to pay all or part of the cost of the project. He will report back at the board's next meeting.