In Fayetteville, the sidewalk shuffle

Residents, board explore options

The Fayetteville Village Board and residents from Sheffield Lane discussed a possible sidewalk that would hopefully stem traffic problems at Immaculate Conception Church, as well as protect children on their way to and from Wellwood Middle and Fayetteville Elementary schools nearby.

Mayor Mark Olson said the sidewalks would get the 100-or-so students who walk Sheffield Lane off the street and contribute to the idea of a "walk-able" community.

He said he approached the pastor about other options, but no solution had been reached between the two parties.

"I really wish there was a better way to skin the cat," Olson said. "But right now, this is really the best option I think we have."

He said the church would have to meet the village somewhere in the middle and vice-versa.

"The church has to bear some responsibility, along with the residents of this village," he said. "I came here tonight with safety number one on my list, and that's why I'm for the sidewalk; It will get people off the street."

Lou Newburger, of Sheffield Lane, said one sidewalk is better than nothing.

"I don't necessarily think this is the best way to handle it, but we don't have any other options," Newburger said. "The fact of the matter is that kids shouldn't be in the street, period."

There is a local law barring children from playing in the street.

Currently, the church has three entrances. Pastor Thomas Ryan usually closes them off during school hours, but the church doesn't have a legal obligation to do so, Olson said.

"I asked him (Ryan) if he could close one of the gates, like the one leading to Salt Spring (Street)," Olson said. "He knew the law and said 'no.'"

Other residents complained that a sidewalk would decrease property values. Olson said just the opposite.

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