An oversight will soon be fixed in the River Valley development as the North Sioux City City Council recommended to add sidewalks along streets that don’t currently have them on July 6. At their meeting June 21, four members of the council were selected to serve as a sidewalk committee and walk the streets in question – North and South Churchill Circle, Belmont Park Avenue and Delmar Circle. Residents along those streets showed up in support of and opposed to the sidewalks.

The committee is comprised of council members Dan Parks, Kodi Benson, Joan Christiansen and Gary Bogenrief and City Administrator Eric Christensen. They met with Rick Wegher and toured the River Valley housing development to make recommendations on where sidewalks should go in the development. Sidewalks would be installed on city-owned right-of-way with the cost split 50-50 between the city and River Valley Partners per an earlier approved agreement.

It was the committee’s recommendation to put in all remaining sidewalks on all straight streets and up to, but not around, the cul-de-sacs on Delmar Circle, South Churchill Circle and North Churchill Circle.

“Definitely along Belmont Park Avenue there needs to be sidewalks put in there,” Parks said. “Just because it’s one of the main throughways into that community out there.

“...as it’s written right now in the ordinance that sidewalks need to be installed,” Parks explained. “This was a situation, a challenge where they weren’t put on the plat and weren’t installed and it wasn’t enforced.”

Deb and Walt Wendel were the first to voice their concerns over the sidewalks, stating that they have lived there for six years and sidewalks haven’t been an issue. She asked the council why the ordinance, written in 2002, wasn’t enforced eight years ago when the development started, so that they didn’t have to go through this now?

“Because we all dropped the same ball,” Christiansen said. “I wish it wouldn’t have happened. But you know what? You’re not going to have to do a thing. It’s all going to be done for you.”

“It’s going to be a mess,” Deb Wendell responded.

Walt Wendel told the council that he’s seen what happens when people put in sidewalks late – it tears up people’s yards.

“We’ve been nursing that grass for five-and-a-half years,” he said. “I want my yard back just like it was.”

Since they have dead end signs and a speed limit of 15 mph, Deb Wendel wanted to know why they need to have sidewalks.

“I think it’s a safety issue,” Bogenrief said.

Deb Wendel asked if the city would exempt their streets from the ordinance.

“No,” council member Lonnie Green said. “Those sidewalks will be put in.”

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.