There has been little progress in getting sidewalks installed on Navarre Avenue between Coy and Lallendorf roads nearly six months after a group of disabled residents, many in wheelchairs, demonstrated to raise awareness of their plight to get to nearby shops and grocery stores in the area.
The group, which had discussed its concerns at the city’s Drainage, Roads, Buildings, and Lands Committee last Aug. 22, frequently travels in the street due to a lack of sidewalks.
The city has said that property owners have to be petitioned for the improvements. If a majority of property owners sign the petition, their property will then be assessed.
Two businessmen, the owner of Dan R’s, and a representative from St. Paul’s Epsicopal Church, had agreed at the committee meeting to circulate a petition to get signatures in support of installing sidewalks. But at the council meeting on Monday, it was learned that the petitions were never circulated.
Councilman Mike Sheehy, at a council meeting on Monday, asked whether any petitions had been
“I have again, very recently, seen individuals on wheelchairs going along Navarre Avenue between Coy and Wal-Mart,” said Councilman Mike Sheehy. “We’ve talked and talked about this. The mayor even said he would support legislation that would see that we would get some sidewalks on that stretch of area. Just last Friday, one of the truckers was driving way out of control going west, got stopped on Navarre Avenue in the afternoon, and caused quite a backup on Navarre. I’m glad our police department is enforcing the speed laws of the community. But I’m telling you, we need to go forward with getting sidewalks in on that stretch of Navarre Avenue. I don’t know what it’s going to take to have that done. The mayor and at least four members of council will support it. We need to move forward with it.”
Councilman Dennis Walendzak said petitions have not yet been circulated, though there are plans to do so “in the next month or so.”
“But they have not yet moved forward at all on the petition process at this time,” said Walendzak.
“I think maybe the council needs to move forward on that, at least the engineering end of it,” said Sheehy.
“I totally agree with Mr. Sheehy,” said Councilman Sandy Bihn, adding that she was concerned that someone was going to get hit in the road.
“I saw the person in the wheelchair last week and cringed when I watched it. I think all of us are fearful that something awful could happen and we’re not progressing. I talked to the two gentlemen who had the petitions and they’ve not started circulating them. I think it’s incumbent on us to move ahead and do something. I certainly am willing to support that. We can have a hearing. I think having a committee meeting, inviting some of the people in the area and figuring it out and going forward is really important and I would like to see that happen,” she said.
“I am wholeheartedly in support of sidewalks in our commercial districts,” said Council President Tom Susor. “If it needs to be us, then so be it. Let’s get it done.”
The estimated cost to install a five foot wide sidewalk on the north side of Navarre from Coy to Lallendorf is $112,000.