An improvement in Cedar Rapids' infrastructure won't come at additional contest to many residents.

During Tuesday night's Cedar Rapids City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to not charge citizens when sidewalks are added to their neighborhood. Nearly 40 percent of Cedar Rapids neighborhoods don't have sidewalks and the city has made it a priority to add them and make the city more walkable, if you will. To this point, residents in neighborhoods where new sidewalks were put in were responsible for half the cost, even if they didn't want the sidewalk(s). That added up to thousands of dollars, for some households. That's coming to an end.

The city will now pay the entire cost. Scott Olson, a member of the Cedar Rapids City Council and the city's Infrastructure Committee, told CBS 2,

A lot of this was in older neighborhoods and in those neighborhoods we often have older individuals on fixed incomes. So one of the things that always came up is the financial aspect of their 50% of the assessment. This takes that off the table.


Sidewalks won't necessarily be replaced or put in at the same time as street work is done during "Paving for Progress." (Here's the streets to be worked on this year.) Public Works Director, Jen Winter, says it will now be about what's best for the city. She cites this example:

For example, some of our higher use bus stops. At some of those facilities we don’t have connecting sidewalks to get people to those bus stops. So people are having to walk on the grass or walk in the streets and that’s a good example of prioritized needs.”

Good move, Cedar Rapids. Now, about those individual pieces of sidewalk that are marked for replacement around my house... I know it's the cost of having large trees that like to make things unlevel but would you consider paying for all of that too?

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