Sidewalk savings plan will have to wait – for now

Students walk along Delight Street North on the way home from school. The area currently lacks sidewalks, but a paved pathway is in the works. Other spaces in Keizer will need to wait.

Members of the Keizer Traffic Safety, Bikeways and Pedestrian Committee planned to ask city officials to start socking away money each year to help fill in Keizer’s numerous and sometimes enormous gaps in sidewalks throughout the city.

The plans rapidly collided with reality, but members of the committee haven’t lost hope. 

“I met with Tim Wood [Keizer finance director] and Bill Lawyer [Keizer Public Works director] and the idea was fine, but it will have to come from the street fund. This year, the street fund is entirely dedicated to repaving River Road,” said David Dempster, a member of the committee. 

Hoping to seize on momentum, Dempster then suggested that the committee draft a list of its top five sidewalk priorities and submit it to the city council. 

“It will give a firm direction to go in when looking for set-asides in future budgets,” Dempster said. 

He suggested looking at known problem areas in terms of getting kids to and from schools, and getting all residents to public services, police and fire services, food banks, health clinics and transportation hubs safely.

“We could have everyone bring back a list of the sidewalk gaps they know about and what problems might be solved by adding them,” said Pat Fisher, committee vice chair. 

Moving quickly might also help the city get in line for upcoming grant opportunities, said Jamie Davis, a newer member of the committee. 

“I’ve been going through some of the upcoming grant deadlines and we need to have our applications filed by June for most of them,” Davis said.