ITHACA, N.Y. – The city of Ithaca is seeking public input into a plan to complete nearly 7,000 feet of sidewalk repairs in 2017.

Under a system established by the Common Council in 2013, Ithaca was divided into five sidewalk improvement districts, which can be viewed here. Since 2013, the city’s Board of Public Works and Common Council have sought community input regarding the construction and maintenance of sidewalks for each district on an annual basis. This year, three public forums are scheduled for June.

Seph Murtagh, who represents Ithaca’s Second Ward on the Common Council, says that although the system adopted in 2013 is “vastly superior” to what existed before, gathering public input on sidewalk development is a challenge.

“We need to keep working on the public input piece,” said Murtagh, noting low attendance at previous meetings.

“City residents are the experts on their own sidewalks. We need to get local knowledge about sidewalks from city residents to City Hall,” he added.

Ducson Nguyen, who also represents Ithaca’s Second Ward on the Common Council, said he wants to ensure high levels of participation in the upcoming discussions.

“I’m really hoping people get engaged since many of the people I spoke to when I went door-to-door expressed concern about sidewalk maintenance and safety,” said Nguyen.

He anticipates debates about where new sidewalks should be placed, as well as about which sidewalks the city should prioritize for improvements.

The public input meeting for districts 1, 2 and 3 will be held on June 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Tompkins County Public Library, while the meeting for districts 4 and 5 will be held on June 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Tompkins County Public Library.

An alternative open house for residents of all districts will convene at the Common Council Chambers on June 15 at 11 a.m.