- Associated Press - Saturday, January 23, 2016

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Twenty years of freezing and thawing have left the brick sidewalks in downtown Clear Lake sagging in spots and bulging in others. Now, city officials say the unique sidewalks are a tripping hazard that must be replaced.

The city is exploring options for replacing the sidewalks, the Mason City Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/1SzGvLt ) reported. The tentative schedule calls for construction to begin this year, and officials have budgeted $500,000 for the project.

“The liability indicates the necessity of doing this, and I certainly believe that this will work out with the patience of all involved,” said Clear Lake Mayor Nelson Crabb.

Several design options were unveiled Monday to the City Council by project engineer Jason Petersburg.

One option is to brick the sidewalk from the buildings to the curb, which is what exists now. Another would be to install sections of brick set in concrete and bordered by concrete.

The city could also re-use the bricks by placing them on a portion of the sidewalk closer to the curb rather than in the main walkway.

No matter what is done, city officials say they want to respect the attachment many people who purchased engraved bricks - most to memorialize loved ones - have to them.

“We … have no intention of throwing them away,” City Manager Scott Flory said.

Designers, city officials and the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce plan to invite downtown business owners to discuss design options at a meeting to be scheduled next month. Feedback from the meeting is expected to help shape the preliminary design.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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