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Hancock council discusses possible sidewalk project

This is a section of sidewalk along Hancock Avenue in Hancock that is being considered for repair or replacement. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

Sidewalks in Hancock all lead to the same place, Mayor Bruce Malo said.

"All sidewalks lead to the school," Malo said in a July 11 interview. The phrase describes the city of Hancock's approach to sidewalk repair and replacement.

"We put X number of money in the budget every year for sidewalk (repair/replacement," Malo said. "But we use it every other year."

This year is again a sidewalk repair or replacement year, if enough feet of sidewalk is ready for work.

The city has identified sidewalks on sections of Hancock Avenue at the intersections of 3rd, 2nd and 1st Streets as those needing repair or replacement.

Property owners along those sections of the sidewalks pay half of the repair or replacement cost while the city pays the other half.

Malo said at the July 10 city council meeting that several property owners seem agreeable to sidewalk work.

The council would like about 600 feet of work to make it worthwhile for the frequently used contractor Hanson Brothers Masonry of Benson to do the work.

"At this point we have one block," city clerk Jodi Bedel said.

"Do we want to go to the school end?" Malo asked at the council meeting. "I'm quite sure the school isn't going to do anything (this year)."

One resident had a specific request before he'd agree on a sidewalk project.

Ryan Schroeder wants two trees removed from the boulevard before he agrees on a sidewalk project, Malo said. Malo said Schroeder said he has takers for the two trees.

"We'd just have to drop them?" city council member Jeff Flaten said.

The trees would need to be dropped and have some cutting completed to allow for another person to cut them more and haul them away, Malo said.

Council member Bob Staples used a neighboring city as an example of how Hancock could handle such a situation. Staples said the city of Morris would replace the sidewalk and place it around the trees to avoid cutting down the trees.

"It takes a 100 years to grow a tree," Staples said.

If the city does a sidewalk project this year, it would be good to leave out the block by the school, especially if trees need to be removed, council member Jeff Kisgen said.

Staples suggested the city consider a sidewalk in the triangle near the school, tennis courts and little baseball fields.

"A lot of people that park to go to (Little League) games go out and walk on the road," council member Annette Kratz said.

"I've been told that sidewalks (in some areas) are a waste of money because people walk in the street," Malo said of property owners and residents in some areas of the city.

"I'd agree," Kisgen said.

"I think the council's focus has been on the main sidewalks to school," Bedel said.

The council made no decision on a sidewalk project because the threshold for a contractor has not yet been reached. Malo will continue to work with property owners on a possible sidewalk project.