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City staff, DDA Board to develop action plan addressing hazardous sidewalks in Downtown Development District

In Cheyenne, anyone who owns property adjacent to a public right-of-way are responsible for repairing, maintaining and reconstructing the sidewalk path.

Downtown Cheyenne (Photo by Stephanie Lam / Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — On Thursday, Cheyenne’s Downtown Development Authority committed to pursuing a program that will better enforce sidewalk repairs in the city’s 74-block Downtown Development District.

The proposal, Resolution No. 6391, encourages the DDA to develop a program that would encourage business and property owners to utilize the Capital Improvement Grant Program for sidewalk repairs, according to Charles Bloom, director of Cheyenne’s Planning and Development Department. The DDA would be responsible for promoting the program itself, Bloom added.

According to Title 12 of the City Municipal Code, anyone who owns property adjacent to a public right-of-way is responsible for repairing, maintaining and reconstructing the sidewalk path.

Thursday’s decision comes after the Cheyenne City Council expressed support for the program at its March 11 meeting. The document’s sponsor is Pete Laybourn, Ward I councilmember with the City of Cheyenne. At the DDA’s Feb. 15 meeting, Laybourn announced during a public comment section his intent to tackle the city’s sidewalk hazard issue.

“This is something that is the result of years of identification,” Laybourn said Thursday. “This program is very thoughtfully prepared, and I urge the adoption.”

The DDA voted to develop a subcommittee dedicated to carrying on work with the sidewalk repair initiative. Board members Janelle Rose, Danica Mrozinsky and Brian Bau; council representative Scott Roybal; and councilmember Laybourn volunteered to join the subcommittee.

DDA District sidewalk deficiency plan

The goal of the sidewalk maintenance program is to bring sidewalk conditions in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Bloom said. Staff in Cheyenne’s Engineers Office Construction Department would coordinate with property owners to explore renovation possibilities. Furthermore, Cheyenne’s Engineering Department would be tasked with notifying property owners about sidewalk deficiencies and instructing them to complete the remodeling within a certain time period.

Property owners would have to complete sidewalk renovations at their own expense, or they could request help from the DDA’s Capital Improvement Program. The CIG Program assists property owners looking to renovate structures located in the public right-of-way. The DDA can approve up to 50% of the total cost of repairs through the CIG Program, Bloom stated. He added that the city will fully fund curb and gutter replacements.

“What we would do is really hash out what the program would look like when it comes to matches,” Bloom said about the subcommittee. “Basically, is it a 50–50 match for commercial property owners? Is it a 25% match for tax-exempt or residential ones? … That’s what I would envision the subcommittee — kind of just putting together and presenting to the board so we could formalize that element of the program.”

Tom Cobb, department head for the City of Cheyenne’s Engineering Department, said that over time, sidewalk deterioration has set in across the city. He said to make the program successful, the DDA needs to examine sidewalks block by block. His priority would be to identify patches of sidewalk that pose “extreme, severe or significant issues.”

The cost to repair a square yard of sidewalk costs approximately $125, Cobb said. He continued that once the city begins sending out letters to property owners requesting repairs, they can respond in three ways:

  • The owner can enter into a public–private partnership with the DDA and partially fund construction labor via the CIG Program. The city would use fifth-penny funds to pay for the rest of construction. City staff would then ask the property owner to pay the difference of the fifth-penny.
  • The owner can utilize money from the CIG Program, then pay for the rest of construction on their own.
  • The owner can do nothing. The city would then implement a lien to fix the sidewalk.