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Helena leaders, advocates celebrate new Fee Street sidewalks

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-03 20:39:45-05

HELENA — On Tuesday afternoon, the city of Helena held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of a new sidewalk project.

The project includes just over 2,200 feet of sidewalk along Fee Street, between Prospect and 11th Avenues. The city worked with Albertsons and Days Inn, the neighboring property owners, to install the sidewalks.

“This is what happens when you have stakeholders coming together to make Helena a safer place,” said Mayor Wilmot Collins.

While the project is relatively small, leaders say it will have a big impact for pedestrians and people with disabilities. Members of Helena’s Non-Motorized Travel Advisory Council contacted city staff after they conducted a “walk audit” in the area last spring. The audit found a number of issues that made travel in the area difficult.

“One of the things we had heard a lot of complaints about is that people from Eagles Manor and in the vicinity could not get across the road here,” said Karen Lane, a member of the advisory council and recently retired prevention program manager for Lewis and Clark Public Health.

Previously, there had been areas without sidewalks on both sides of Fee Street. On the west side, adjacent to Albertsons, Lane said there were shrubs blocking the way, and a large street sign serving as an obstacle. Now, the shrubbery has been cut back, and a new sidewalk curves safely away from the road and around the sign.

“They’ve done a really nice job of clearing the way and creating a wonderful safe path,” Lane said.

Leaders say the new sidewalks will be a big help for people walking from the Eagles Manor retirement community to the grocery store or to the services at PureView Health Center or Lewis and Clark Public Health.

The last concrete work was finished last week. City staff said, overall, the project cost about $30,000. Albertsons did its part of the work through the city’s sidewalk replacement program, receiving a zero-interest loan and working with a contractor the city has used. Days Inn hired its own contractor for its side.

Leaders say they are pleased at how all the stakeholders in the area worked together to get results.

“I’m very happy, very grateful for everyone’s partnership,” said Lane.