The Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association is paving the way to smooth sidewalks throughout that historic neighborhood.
Walkable Winnetka, formed earlier this year, is an effort to assist homeowners in paying for new sidewalks. The city’s cost-share program will pay for half of a new sidewalk, and Walkable Winnetka uses neighborhood association funds to pay 75 percent of the owner’s share, up to $700.
“The idea is that it takes a lot to keep these old homes in good condition,” says Diane Sherman of Walkable Winnetka.
When a house is 100 years old, it constantly needs something. And sidewalk replacement often is pushed to the bottom of the list, Sherman says.
So far, Walkable Winnetka has paid $5,447 toward 1,082 linear feet of sidewalks. That’s about 20 percent of all the sidewalks in Winnekta Heights. The total cost of that work was $13,721, and homeowners paid a total of $1,839.
The neighborhood association makes money from its annual home tour in December, from Old Oak Cliff Conservation League grants and a few other sources.
Sherman and Kirk Kirksey surveyed every sidewalk in Winnetka Heights, ranking them red, yellow or green, to determine which were the most in need of repair. But the neighborhood association board later decided to let homeowners come to them to apply for the Walkable Winnetka supplement.
“You can’t push a baby stroller,” on some of the sidewalks, Kirksey says. “I would love to see kid on a tricycle be able to ride up and down the street.”
Walkable Winnetka has about $2,500 left in its budget this year, and homeowners should apply by about the middle of December to have work done in February or March.
Walkable Winnetka by the numbers:
1,082 feet of new sidewalks
$13,721 total cost
$6,869 city share
$6,869 homeowner share
$5025 Walkable Winnetka paid
$1,839 homeowner paid