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The skinny on the path proposal

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:25 PM

Up for consideration is a 0.5-mill, 10-year tax levy that would fund paths along 168th Avenue and North Shore Road, with estimated costs of $250,000 and $750,000, respectively.

If approved, the owner of a $150,000 home would pay an additional $37.50 per year, beginning with next summer's tax bill.

The proposed routes are North Shore Road from the fire barn to North Beach Park and 168th Avenue from West Spring Lake Road to VanWagoner Street.

If voters approve the proposal, City Council would proceed with separated bike paths instead of bike lanes.

Council also informally decided that if the millage is approved, the city will bond for the funds to construct the paths rather than wait a decade or longer until all of the taxes are collected.

The millage would generate about $900,000, according to City Manager Craig Bessinger.

Bessinger said ideally, the paths would be constructed when North Shore Road is reconstructed in 2015.

“It would be the opportune time to put the two projects together and get some economies of scale,” Bessinger said.

North Shore Road will be restructured from Coast Guard Park to North Shore Beach.

Jean Gitchell, chairwoman of the city's recreation commission, said she's optimistic the proposal will pass. She said that having U.S. 31 slice through the city presents challenges.

“I think it's important to be able to traverse your city and not be in the middle of the road,” Gitchell said. “We want to be a walkable city. We want to promote a healthy way of living and be able to walk about the city and not be in the middle of traffic. There's nothing fancy here. Basically, it's a safety issue.”


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