City to pick up the bill for sidewalk repairs

A Minneapolis City Council committee is asking the Public Works Department to estimate tornado damage to sidewalks, curbs, gutters and alleys.

The tornado, which struck on May 22, knocked over thousands of trees, causing the roots to erupt from the ground and destroy sections of sidewalk. Mike Kennedy, Minneapolis' director of transportation, maintenance and repair, said the city will do the work first and seek reimbursement later. But the city will not charge property owners for the repairs.

"There is always the potential for federal reimbursement to this," Kennedy said. "This is first to get this work done without assessing to property owners and, if there are opportunities to get reimbursements at a higher level, we're going to take full advantage of those."

Kennedy said the city did the same thing in 2009 after a weaker tornado brushed through part of downtown and south Minneapolis. However, he said the city paid for the repairs out of the general fund. This time, the city is seeking federal disaster aid.