Carmel may offer grants to assist with sidewalk repairs


The Carmel City Council is expected to consider an ordinance in December that could provide financial assistance for residents to improve sidewalks in front of their homes.

Sue Finkam

Sponsored by councilor Sue Finkam, the ordinance transfers $50,000 of unused funds in the 2020 city council budget to a non-reverting sidewalk fund, which would likely be created at the same time the transfer is approved. Carmel code states that residents are responsible for maintaining the sidewalk along their property.

Residents could apply for grant money from the fund to cover at least part of the cost of repairing and maintaining the sidewalk in front of their home. Finkam, who represents Carmel’s Northeast District, said details of the program are still to be finalized, but she hopes residents can begin applying for grants in April.

“It’s something residents in my district have inquired about,” she said. “We felt like this was a good time, with all of the challenges of COVID hitting pocketbooks.”

Finkam hopes the program will promote safety, mobility and beautification, especially in some of Carmel’s aging neighborhoods. She said she plans to ask the city’s engineering department to identify areas where sidewalk repairs are most needed.

“When people invest in their property, it helps property values all across the neighborhood,” Finkam said. “We felt this could not only be a way to support families in improving their sidewalks in front of their homes to prevent injury, but it is also a way to help spur investment in the entire neighborhood.”

The council is expected to introduce an ordinance transferring the funds and creating the non-reverting sidewalk program fund at its Dec. 7 meeting.