WINDSOR HEIGHTS, Iowa — The Des Moines suburb of Windsor Heights has adopted changes to its sidewalk ordinance, even as it prepares to make controversial changes to the way its sidewalks are laid out.

The City Council approved an ordinance Monday night that sets up sidewalk maintenance schedules and ensures compliance with federal disabilities access. The council did not adopt a contentious sidewalk plan unpopular with many longtime residents. Councilwoman Threase Harms said Tuesday that no decision has been made on how or where sidewalks will be placed.

The plan calls for building sidewalks along streets and repairing old sidewalks that are deemed unsafe.

Residents have opposed the effort for months, arguing they’re too costly and unnecessary, and recently placed small signs in lawns along streets.

“I was raised in Windsor Heights,” resident Coleen Kelleher said. “I raised my children and my grandchildren in Windsor Heights. We’ve all learned to walk in the streets.”

Or as resident Chris White put it Monday night: “We’re sick of this. We are absolutely sick of this.”

Council members say they appreciate residents’ concerns and agreed to have the city pay some of the cost of the sidewalks and give homeowners more time to pay their share. The city also plans to wrap sidewalks around mature trees.

Mayor Diana Willits said new, younger families want sidewalks to ensure their children’s safety. Eventually, Willits said she thinks residents will accept and even appreciate the sidewalks.

“You know, at the end of the day after it’s done and they actually see the results, I think everybody or most people will be pleased,” she said.


This story has been corrected to show that city officials passed an updated sidewalk ordinance, not the controversial sidewalk plan.