To pave or not to pave

SPOKANE, Wash. - Homeowners on the South Hill are finding themselves between a road and a hard spot as they have to decide whether or not they want to go ahead with some pricey paving.

Neighbors on Cuba Street, between 37th and 40th, could be paying tens of thousands of dollars for the city to bring in the blacktop.

When Cuba went in, it opened up access for traffic going south. Neighbors were concerned about safety so one of the city's options was to pave it and put in traffic control, an expensive option for some home owners.

Unpaved Spokane roads

"Around $21,500, so that's a decent amount," Jesse Achenbach said.

Achenbach has lived on 40th Avenue for five years and recently the city asked the neighborhood if they wanted a change.

"We want to pave unpaved streets in the city because for one thing there is an air quality issue plus it helps us deal with storm water drainage better," Marlene Feist with the City of Spokane said.

Using bond money from early 2000, the city would pay for some of the cost, leaving the rest for homeowners.

"Right now I'm for it. I mean, I want a paved road. Obviously the cost is the main concern," Achenbach said.

But the cost would also fall on some who don't even live on the dirt road.

"We don't use Cuba as an access road so it's not a benefit to us," Jenny Slagle said.

Cuba is the closest side street to Slagle's house so she would have to pay around $2,000.

"Our vote will definitely be no," she added. "Paving Cuba will only really benefit those south of 38th."

Around 600 cars drive down Cuba each day, but the cost isn't shared by road users, only by homeowners who would see a property value increase from the paving.

"So if more than half of the neighbors, or half of the neighborhood, I guess is the best way to put it, want to move ahead we can move ahead, if they don't this is a project that doesn't have to go ahead," Feist said.

If enough home owners want to explore the idea further they can form a local improvement district. That way they can move forward with the idea and explore their options more fully.