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Oak Harbor gets sidewalk money

"Nearly three years after he started a personal crusade to fill in the missing sidewalks in Oak Harbor, Paul Brewer may win a small victory next Tuesday.And it won't cost the citizens of Oak Harbor a thing.City Engineer Ryan Goodman said the city has received two grants for building sidewalks for a total of $200,000. One of the grants, from the state Transportation Improvement Board, is funded by state gas tax money. The other, from the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, is funded by federal gas taxes.Since the city has identified about $692,000 worth of sidewalks needed in high-priority areas - which are within 1,000 feet of a school - Goodman said he identified a couple of gaps that can be filled in with the money we have.Namely, the west side of Regatta Drive, from N.E. First to N.E. Fifth Avenue and the north side of Whidbey Avenue, from Heller Road to Jib Street, have been targeted for sidewalks.On Tuesday, Goodman said he will ask the council to authorize a $19,470 contract for design of the sidewalks. He said construction should begin by June.Brewer said he's tickled by the plans to build sidewalks, though he said he is still pushing the city administration to move faster on building sidewalks. It shouldn't take 20 years to fill in the missing sidewalks, he said.Brewer said he started his sidewalk campaign after he noticed how many sidewalks are missing in areas throughout the city, which forces children and disabled people to walk in the streets.Last summer, numerous city residents protested and the council members retreated from a proposal to force homeowners with missing sidewalks to help pay for the installation."

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