The dialogue between Mayor Mark Olson and the residents of Sheffield Lane got heated at times Monday night, as Olson and the Village Board of Trustees opened the floor to discussion of traffic and children's safety on the street.
Olson has proposed building sidewalks on the street, which is often used as a shortcut through the Immaculate Conception Church.
"This has been a problem since 1968," Olson said. "I'm trying to solve this problem and not turn a blind eye to it like former mayors have."
The proposed sidewalks have also created some controversy among neighbors on Sheffield Lane. Trees, mailboxes and fences on their property would have to be moved or removed for the new sidewalks.
Long-time village resident Eileen Friedman voiced her concerns.
"If [the sidewalk proposal] goes through, I will lose a large maple tree on my property. The sidewalk will cut through its roots," Friedman said. "Our property value will decrease as we lose trees."
Olson named several steps that will take place before the proposed sidewalks are built, including a survey of the land on Sheffield Lane, a formal letter to the Fayetteville-Manlius School Board to request school buses avoid Sheffield as a shortcut, and a comprehensive traffic study for the school district. Olson said that the estimated cost for the sidewalks will be around $25,000.
"Residents want a safer place to walk," Olson said. "The very least we can do is get the children off of the street and onto the sidewalks."
Several residents suggested closing the gate that is near the entrance to the Immaculate Conception Church. An old agreement with the church and the town has been lost. Olson agreed to ask the town if such an agreement still exists.
Trustee Michael Small told the neighbors that the church is private property; therefore they are not required to shut their gate.