Multi-million dollar bond opens door for city to repair sidewalks at no cost to homeowners

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Walking in Barbara Woska's Historic Northeast neighborhood has long been a challenge.

"I`ve been here for 32 years and as our children were growing up this was getting worse, and it just continued." Woska said. "I`ve always had to tell the kids in the neighborhood to be careful because they would fall. Even when my grandchildren come down, have to tell them to stop right there. I don`t know how many times I`ve literally walked down and had to be careful with my steps too."

Tree roots and the elements have taken their toll on city sidewalks, and if home owners wanted them fixed, the cost would take a toll on their wallet.

"We are working class people here, we don`t have the extra money for stuff like this. It`s not just a couple of thousand dollars, it`s a lot of repairs, it`s a lot of money," Woska said.

However, help is on the way in the form of a $150 million project that will repair sidewalks, curbs, and driveways at no cost to home owners.

"It`s a 10-year plan, so over the course of the 20-year bond offering we will be able to look at every sidewalk at least twice in that time frame," Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner said.

Wagner said plans for city-wide repairs are underway to not only ease the burden residents like Barbara have had to carry, but also to make sidewalks safer.

"You should be able to access a sidewalk anywhere whether you are in the neighborhoods where people can pay for those assessments themselves or in neighborhoods where they cannot," Wagner said.

According to Wagner, the city has a three-year backlog of sidewalks in need of repairs but said the work will be worth the wait.

"We want to be consistent, we want to be accessible, because it`s good for everybody and frankly we shouldn`t have to have people walking into the streets to get where they want to go," Wagner said.

Residents who want to report damaged sidewalks should call 311 to file a report. Wagner said the city will come to the site, assess the damage, and put together a work order.