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Coulee Dam Council: Fix the worst sidewalks now

 

Sheri Edwards

Two toad figurines serve as witnesses to an extreme break in a Coulee Dam sidewalk on Stevens Avenue.

Two toy toads may soon be homeless as the result of a town council decision to direct the mayor to get the worst of Coulee Dam's broken sidewalks fixed this year, not later.

The decision was foisted upon Mayor Greg Wilder after he told the council during their regular semi-monthly meeting Wednesday that a planned street and sidewalk project would not start this summer, as had been planned.

Wilder said he'd been informed that day by the state Transportation Improvement Board that bids on the work would not be sought until next March.

Wilder has hoped he would be able to stretch TIB funding on a project on the east side of town for much-needed work on the west side's sidewalks.

But the hefty lifting of concrete accomplished by town-owned ornamental cherry tree roots along Stevens Avenue has had residents grumbling for more than a year.

And at least one resident chose to illustrate the frustration by using the difference between broken slabs to house two toad figures, which stand nicely between the upper and lower portions of broken sidewalk, some 6-8 inches apart.

Mention of the toads got a chuckle Wednesday night, but the council was serious when Councilmember Ben Alling moved to direct the mayor to put up to $17,500 in the public works department to fix the worst of the problems.

Wilder said it could be done, but would cost three times as much as waiting for a contractor who would already be working a sidewalk job in town. But he asked the council if anyone wanted to suggest spending $10,000 now at the discretion of the public works department.

The discussion was spurred by a question from now-candidate Fred Netzel, who asked about appropriated, but unspent, funds for the work. Netzel organized a meeting on the subject, attended by 22 people, last fall.

Alling's motion passed unanimously.

This story has been corrected to change the word trolls to toads.

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