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Northeast side residents criticize the city of Indianapolis for over spending on new project

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 18:55:39-04

INDIANAPOLIS — City councilor, Christine Scales, says the latest project in her district speaks to the city's "skewed priorities" when it comes to spending money on infrastructure, and ignoring more significant issues, like the potholes on the road.

"Let's spend the money where things are really needed, not where people don't want them," Larry Riggle, a resident, said.

For some neighbors, the condition of Johnson Road is more of a concern than building a new bike and walking path next to it.

"Obviously this is our natural drain so they're going to have to completely redo the drainage," Riggle said.

Riggle says their sidewalks were also just updated and ADA accessible curbs installed a few years ago. The city would have to tear that work up to make room for a proposed ten-foot wide asphalt-paved "Johnson Road Trail."

"I think it's a waste of money. There's been sidewalks here; people use them every day," Riggle said.

The project connects the 71st Street Trail and the Fall Creek Greenway on the northeast side and creates a safer, protected lane for bikers. But neighbors who have signed this petition say it's not necessary and the area doesn't call for it.

Scales agrees and says her district hasn't received this little of money to resurface roads in 12 years.

"If you have a city councilor in a district saying that this is a poor use of taxpayer dollars, why move forward with that project?" Scales said. "Well, I would say the first thing is that local dollars that go into federal projects like this doesn't actually come from our road budget."

The director of the Department of Public Works says about three-quarters of the $1 million price tag this project will cost is coming from the federal government. The nearly $300,000 the city is putting in to match it is separate from the road resurfacing budget and wouldn't be used to fill potholes anyways.

"Construction is frustrating, but when the project is done, it's going to be something that we hope that each and every resident on the northeast side uses," Dan Parker, DPW Director, said.

The project was granted federal funding back in 2014. The DPW directors say call the Mayor's Action Center to report a pothole, and they'll get to it according to priority.

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