Johnstown to pave fewer sidewalks this year

The city of Johnstown’s popular sidewalk replacement program will be shrunk this year to help pay fo

The city of Johnstown’s popular sidewalk replacement program will be shrunk this year to help pay for a project to pave a new road and sidewalks for foreclosed properties the city is trying to sell.

Last year the city Department of Public Works paved 12 residential sidewalks, three in each of the four wards, and two downtown business sidewalks at a cost of $1.75 per square foot.

This year the program will replace eight residential sidewalks, two per ward, and two business sidewalks.

Second Ward Councilman Christopher Foss said the city has diverted some of the funds for the program to create a street and sidewalks for some vacant lots the city owns near Pleasant Avenue called the “Mapleton track” properties. He said there is a “paper street” near the lots called Linden Avenue, but the street has never existed.

“We own several lots there that could be very good building lots. We’ve tried to get a contractor interested, but we can’t get a contractor because it would cost too much to build the infrastructure. There’s no road there now,” Foss said.

“The city is going to act as its own contractor, build a section of road so that we can sell the lots and reap the tax benefits of new housing.”

The budget for the sidewalks program is $27,000, up slightly from $26,000 last year.

The city will choose which sidewalks to replace using a lottery system.

Property owners interested in the lottery must submit applications to the city clerk’s office by April 30.

Deputy City Engineer Kevin Jones said after the deadline for applications, DPW officials will evaluate the sidewalks submitted for the lottery and rank them from 1 to 4, level 4 sidewalks being those most in need of repair. The worst sidewalks will have a greater chance of being chosen for the lottery in May.

“Typically all of the code 4 sidewalks from a ward are thrown into a hat and one of the council members or the mayor will pick the successful applicants,” Jones said.

Applications for the sidewalk lottery are available at City Hall and on the city’s Web site.

Categories: Schenectady County

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