News

City delays new sidewalks

Oak Harbor won’t be building sidewalks in the areas around Broad View Elementary and Oak Harbor Middle School this fall, as originally planned.

The city council decided to delay the project until next fall after a bid from the project came in at about $170,000, which was $70,000 more than the city expected to pay. The city only received one bid through the small works roster bidding process, which is allowed under law for projects under $200,000.

Eric Johnston, city engineer, said the company was “too busy this fall to do the project at a cost we can afford.”

Paul Brewer, the council’s champion of sidewalks, made a motion to reject the bid and enter into a formal bidding process with companies on and off the island. The motion passed unanimously.

With winter on the way, the motion means the sidewalks won’t be build until next spring at the earliest.

Oak Harbor school officials may find the council’s decision ironic. This summer the council members reneged on a previous agreement that would have allowed the district to build the necessary sidewalks around two remodeled elementary schools a year or more after the schools opened.

The council members cited safety concerns and forced the district to build permanent sidewalks at Broad View and temporary walkways at Olympic View before school began. The short timeframe increased the cost of the projects.

The council passed a new sidewalk policy this summer that is aimed at filling in sidewalk gaps around the city, targeting areas around schools first. Council members approve a proposal to spend $100,000 on sidewalks along SW Third Avenue, SW Sixth Avenue, SW Fairhaven Street and West Loerland Avenue.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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