City says lack of funds are keeping down-town sidewalks cold.

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by Whitney LB Miller

ANCHORAGE - Downtown streets can be crowded, messy and quite frankly frozen. Many businesses have turned to underground heating systems to combat the freeze and to save time shoveling.

The city also has a snow-melt system on a couple downtown streets.

In 2011 after only three winters the city turned off the system.

"F-street seemed to be a luxury that wasn't used as much as was anticipated," said Public Works director Ron Thompson. "at this point we just felt that budget scenarios kept us from keeping them going."

Out of a 19 million dollar budget to clear the entire city of snow and ice it was costing the city between 150-200 thousand dollars a year to heat up a small stretch of E and F street.

Thompson says by just using heavy equipment to brush the sidewalks and hall it away the city saves nearly one hundred thousand dollars.

"we really got to keep all of the streets and all of the sidewalks clear...throughout the city at a reasonable rate based on the funds available," said Thompson.

Currently there are no plans in the budget to allow the city to turn on the ice melt system.
    

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