UPDATE: Royal Palm sidewalks could happen by November

By Debbie Carson, Online EditorVERO BEACH – Sidewalks on Royal Palm Place and Royal Palm Boulevard got a tentative green light Tuesday during the Vero Beach City Council meeting. Though the council voted in support of the $250,000 sidewalk project, they decided to hold off on getting it started until after Hurricane Season.

At the request of City Councilman Tom White, the council agreed to enact a start date of no sooner than Nov. 1 for the project’s construction. He explained that he would rather the city hold onto the $250,000 just in case the money is needed to make hurricane-related infrastructure repairs. The money has been budgeted for using proceeds from Vero Beach’s 1-cent sales tax earmarked for capital projects. No property tax funds would be used for the sidewalks.

The council originally took up the issue in July, prior to its 3-day budget hearing. At the time, council decided to table the discussion until after the budget had been hammered out.

One resident spoke during the council meeting Tuesday in support of the sidewalks. He explained that he and his wife were originally opposed to the project because they feared the sidewalks would attract undesirables closer to their home.

Instead, they now believe the sidewalks would enhance their neighborhood and increase their property’s value.

The City of Vero Beach started looking into adding sidewalks along the two roadways in 2006 at the request of residents, according to Monte Falls, the city’s public works and engineering director. The city polled residents in the neighborhood and found 75 percent favored the sidewalks.

“We felt that was a vote of confidence,” Falls told the council in July. He reiterated the polling results at the Aug. 18 meeting.

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