COUNCIL DELAY LEAVES SIDEWALK ISSUES UNRESOLVED.
The fate of new sidewalks for low-income neighborhoods in Newhall remained undecided by the City Council last week, leaving project supporters with continuing questions about child safety in the area.
The older neighborhood was built without sidewalks, curbs and gutters and has since become bustling with traffic near Placerita Junior High School and Hart High School. Winter is especially bad, residents said, when children have to walk to and from school in the narrow streets to avoid puddled water.
The city is in the process of building the sidewalks a little each year with federal block grants, but doesn't plan to finish until 2007. Residents have been asking the City Council to take a $4.6 million advance on its federal grants to build the sidewalks now.
The council discussed the matter again Wednesday as it studied the proposed 1997-98 city budget, but put off a decision until members adopt the budget later this month.
``I didn't get the warm and fuzzies,'' Newhall resident Larry Bird said in summing up the council's discussion.
The sidewalks could be complete by June 2000 if the city borrows the money now, said Kevin Tonoian, who is managing the block grant program for the city. The total cost to the city, including interest payments, would be $7.6 million, he told the council.
The cost, including inflation and other factors, would only be $6 million if the city continues at the current rate, he said.
Councilman Carl Boyer had asked for the specific cost difference. ``If there's a real (cost) benefit, I'd like to see us go ahead,'' he said.
Councilwoman Jan Heidt was an advocate for not taking on the debt.
Photo: Maggie Morales walks her son Jonathon, 7, home from school on a dirt path by 13th Street in Newhall.
Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jun 9, 1997|
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