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Could Heated Sidewalks Come To Rochester?

April 22, 2019 10:43 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- As Rochester city officials look ahead toward a multimillion-dollar repair of several blocks of downtown sidewalks, the city council is weighing the pros and cons of spending additional money to add a heating element to melt snow and ice.

At Monday's Committee of the Whole study session, public works officials outlined the necessary fixes as well as the options to heat the sidewalk. Their report highlights a number of places where the decorative brick installed in 1987 had chipped away, creating a tripping hazard and making it more difficult for those in wheelchairs to move around.

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With a road reconstruction on South Broadway Avenue not scheduled until 2037, the public works department recommends patching the sidewalk as necessary along Broadway from 2nd Street North to 4th Street South this year and adding $2.6 million to the capital improvement plan in 2020 to address the larger issue.

As part of that project, the department estimated adding heated sidewalks would add an additional $1.3 million to the overall cost.

Council member Nick Campion said the idea sounds good in theory but that there are a number of pros and cons to consider before spending that kind of money.

"The same way we thought this brick inlay seemed like a great idea now, if in a decade or two these water-fed heating systems aren't working,  all of a  sudden we might be looking at a big price tag to go fix them," he said, adding it's important to coordinate the updates with the numerous other changes happening in the downtown core as part of the Destination Medical Center initiative.

The project's cost could be covered by creating a special sidewalk improvement or tax abatement district, assessing adjacent property owners or from the tax levy.

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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