“Along with the trail system, [sidewalks] probably touch more neighborhoods and more parts of the city than any other MAPS 3 project,” Cornett said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to mark the completion of phase 1 of the sidewalk project. “If you look at these sidewalks, I think they exceed expectations, which is continuing the MAPS brand. They are a little bit wider than people might expect. The materials are top-of-the-line. These are major construction projects.”
The construction of new sidewalks across the city are some of the earliest MAPS 3 projects to be completed, and there are still three more phases left to finish in the coming years.
The completion of the first phase of sidewalks includes paths in all parts of the city.
“People who are critics of MAPS talk about it being all downtown, but sidewalks are all over the city,” said David Todd, MAPS 3 program manager.
A total of $18 million will be spent on new sidewalks through MAPS 3, which will add new sidewalks along arterial streets rather than in residential neighborhoods, Todd said.
Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell, who was on hand for Thursday’s ribbon-cutting for a new sidewalk in his ward, said he believed future MAPS projects should continue to include new sidewalks.
“These types of neighborhood projects should remain a priority in future MAPS projects,” Greenwell said.
In addition to new sidewalks, 2014 will also see construction begin on a new whitewater course in the boathouse district, along with a new expo center at the state fairgrounds.
“We had a couple of projects under our belts, but I don’t think it was until the sidewalks that a large amount of people started to acknowledged that the MAPS 3 projects were beginning to roll out,” Cornett said.
In addition to seeing MAPS 3 projects become a reality, Cornett said he was pleased that tax collections were exceeding original estimates.
“We were criticized and questioned [before MAPS 3] on whether or not we had overestimated the amount of revenue to expect, and clearly, we didn’t,” Cornett said.