Truckee finds funds for downtown sidewalks | SierraSun.com

Truckee finds funds for downtown sidewalks

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunDave and Colleen McLaughlin and John Ramirez walk along the dusty roadside of Brickelltown in downtown Truckee Saturday. The Town of Truckee may be offering loans of up to $25,000 to downtown property owners to help build new sidewalks and make other improvements along the street.
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Downtown property owners may be eligible for up to $25,000 loans to improve sidewalks and other street-side improvements.

Town council gave staff the go ahead March 6 to continue planning both a Downtown Streetscape Improvement District and a loan program that could jump-start efforts to extend sidewalks throughout the downtown area.

“The goal is to create an attractive, functional, and safe streetscape downtown, to create continuous sidewalk connections throughout historic downtown Truckee,” said David Griffith, redevelopment and housing coordinator for the town.

Working with a total of $250,000 from Redevelopment Agency funding, the loans as currently proposed would be first-come, first-serve for property owners within the proposed district, Griffith said, and would be low interest (2 percent), deferred payment loans on a 10-year term.

The district, as proposed, would basically span from the roundabout to the proposed Railyard development, and include Jibboom Street, part of West River Street, and cross over the Truckee River on Bridge Street, according to staff reports.

Property owners could either apply voluntarily to put in sidewalks, or would be required to when applying to do historic rehabilitation or other upgrades to their building, said Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.

“This would provide a low-cost source of money for just the public improvement portion of their work, like sidewalks, drainage, undergrounding utilities, or lighting,” Lashbrook said.

Heidi Baikie, owner of Fair and Green in Brickelltown, said she is all for sidewalk improvements in town, but wanted to know about maintenance.

“I have noticed other properties in Brickelltown have not cleared their sidewalks, people are slipping and nearly falling into traffic,” Baikie said.

Dan Warren, general manager of the Glenshire Devonshire Residents Association, questioned why the funding would only be available downtown.

“This could actually hurt the Town of Truckee, it allows a very select group of people to make improvements when others can’t. If I had a businesses in Gateway now it would look even worse in comparison to the competition,” Warren said. “I think it needs to be expanded to be equal and fair.”

Lashbrook said the loan program could expand if successful downtown.

“We would love to have the money to do everything at once, but we have to set priorities,” Lashbrook said.