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Syracuse Council will consider mayor’s sidewalk maintenance plan

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media File Photo

On Monday, Syracuse Common Councilors are expected to consider Mayor Ben Walsh’s plan to improve the city’s sidewalks.

The idea for a sidewalk maintenance plan has been around for a while; Walsh has been talking about it since he was elected and included it in his 2020 State of the City speech. But the pandemic forced the initiative to the back burner. Now, the pandemic could help move things along. Walsh wants to use part of the $126 million the city is receiving in federal stimulus funds, to start things off.

"The intent of using federal funds is to get the program kickstarted,” Walsh said. “We anticipate it will cost about $4.5 million annually. And so the first year, we will hopefully show the community how it works, show the community the benefits of new sidewalks in highly trafficked corridors."

After that first year, property owners will bear the cost with phased-in fees over the next five years.

“Starts at $20 per residential property owner and that will phase up to $100 and for commercial properties, I believe it starts at $60 and phases up to $300 dollars, annually,” Walsh said. “Everyone pays it because sidewalks are a public good."

Currently, the property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks, and that can lead to unexpected costs if they have to be repaired or replaced. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.