Warsaw’s two-mile sidewalk project could be complete in June

Sidewalk construction is underway on the western stretch of Sheridan Street in Warsaw. The work is part of the Lincoln Elementary sidewalk project, which is expected to be complete this summer. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Warsaw’s major ongoing sidewalk project — possibly one of the biggest in local recent memory — is moving into the final stretch with construction.

The $3.2 million plan includes a federal role and took much longer than expected, but construction of nearly two miles of sidewalk is now expected to wrap up in June if all goes as planned, according to City Planner Justin Taylor.

The sidewalks are within an area bordered by Sheridan, Scott, Colfax and Main streets and the work is generally aimed at improving safety for students who walk to and from Lincoln Elementary.

The project has included lots of conversations with property owners in recent years, Taylor said.

Taylor said some residents have sought changes or had questions about the impact on their property.

The city was also, in the end, able to adjust its sidewalk plan that temporarily threatened a 300-year-old Sycamore tree that a homeowner on Sheridan Street and dozens of others worked to preserve.

The issue surfaced last fall and the city was able to work with the Indiana Department of Transportation, which has oversight on the plan, to amend the design, which involved creating a “bump out” south of the tree on North Colfax Street.

The tree sits close to the road and the bump out will help preseve its root system, Taylor said.

Pink paint currently outlines the bump out design in the street, but Taylor said that represents a rough draft of how far the future curb will extend (See photo below).

Taylor said the project has highlighted the importance of communication.

Having open discussions with residents has been a priority under former Mayor Joe Thallemer (whose administration began the work) and current mayor Jeff Grose, Taylor said.

“Keeping that in mind and communicating with residents in the area is what is most important,” Taylor said. “As soon as you get out there and talk to somebody face-to-face, you really get a feel for them and their values and then you can also explain to them what you’re trying to accomplish with the project — and every single time, that has always paid off.”

Taylor made the comments during an interview for In the Know, the public affairs show that airs on Kensington Digital Media radio stations this weekend.

Pink paint outlines plans for an alteration to the curb line on North Colfax Street, just south of Sheridan Street in Warsaw. The change is being made to preserve an historic, 300-year old Sycamore treet and to protect its root system. The work is part of a large-scale sidewalk improvement plan near Lincoln Elementary. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.