Newport helps Habitat for Humanity with sidewalk

The Newport City Council voted to approve funds to complete the last few feet of sidewalk in front of a duplex built by Habitat for Humanity in Newport. (Photo by Cheri Brubaker)

NEWPORT — A duplex built by Habitat for Humanity on city of Newport-owned land at South Pine and South 10th streets is substantially complete, Lucinda Taylor, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County, said. Taylor appealed to the Newport City Council for help with completing 15 feet of sidewalk at the south of the property, communicating with the council in writing and then by phone at its meeting on Monday, May 18.

“Everything is in. We’re getting close to being ready to request a certificate of occupancy from the city,” Taylor told the city council.

She said the final piece is the remaining 10 to 15 feet of sidewalk required by city code. “We just don’t have financial resources to be able to put that in because of the steepness of the slope,” Taylor said, noting the terrain caused increased costs throughout the project, beginning with the initial excavation and foundation. 

“This is the final hurdle,” she said of the last stretch of sidewalk, which will cost $33,000 due to the required engineering.

“The sidewalk improvement must be completed before Habitat for Humanity can obtain an occupancy permit for the duplex,” confirmed Community Development Director Derrick Tokos in his staff report to the city council. “Under the terms of the land donation agreement, once an occupancy permit is obtained, the city will convey the lots to Habitat for Humanity so that they can, in turn, convey them to the new owners. A deed restriction is required to ensure that the units remain affordable for a period of 20 years, and it was for the purpose of generating new affordable housing units that the donation agreement was originally executed.”

Taylor further explained that Habitat retail stores that were closed in March had been funding the project. “We’re a bit strapped for cash flow. And as you can imagine, the nature of fundraising is changing.” She noted that homes for low-income homeowners are still a priority, but there are many other worthwhile causes competing for donations at this unprecedented time.

Noting the city did not initially require that portion to be completed, Councilor Dietmar Goebel said, “I think this is a valid request for Habitat for the city to assist them.” The city council voted to approve funds for that sidewalk.

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