May 20, 2009
STARKVILLE -- Starkville became a bit more pedestrian-friendly Tuesday night after the Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance to set standards for the construction of all new sidewalks throughout the city.
The ordinance, which passed unanimously, requires sidewalks along new public and private roads in the city. It also requires sidewalks in front of all new homes and businesses before the city issues certificates of occupancy.
Although the ordinance primarily addresses the construction of new sidewalks, it also attempts to improve the city''s existing walkways.
According to the ordinance, whenever the city makes significant improvements to a major roadway, such as overlaying, the city also would have to install new sidewalks along the stretch of road, or improve the road''s existing walkways to meet current standards.
Additionally, as a way to maintain existing sidewalks, the city''s sidewalk committee included in the ordinance a section holding property owners accountable for their walkways. According to the ordinance, if a sidewalk is damaged or removed by any direct action, such as backing over it repeatedly with a heavy truck, the property owner would be responsible for replacing or repairing the section.
And, in an attempt to make sure future aldermen keep sidewalks in mind, the ordinance requires the city to create a separate line item on its annual budget, which would be designated specifically for sidewalk funds.
Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey spearheaded the ordinance over the last nine months to help improve accessibility throughout the city.
"It really was a labor of love for me and I think it''s something people 20 years down the line will see the lasting effects on," Corey said after the meeting. "You just have to think about if Starkville would have had this ordinance 20 years ago, how different things would look today."
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