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Village residents speak out over possible change to neighborhood walkway

— “This discussion is a courtesy on behalf of the village board, it is not a requirement,” Mayor Marty Hubbard said at the start of the public comment period. “We have an obligation to maintain this path as originally constructed, and we have before us a decision to improve it to a concrete sidewalk surface.”

A mixture of opinions was voiced during the ultimately one-hour session, with some residents adamantly opposed to paving the walkway and wanting to leave it a “natural” gravel path, others were heartily in favor of a concrete sidewalk that would be solid against water and paved in winter, while still others wanted something more permanent that gravel for the path but not as bland and “public” as concrete.

Bill Mahood, a West Lake Street resident, said he supports leaving the path in its “natural state” as gravel versus concrete. To pave the walkway would make it an “eyesore,” would turn the low-traffic pathway to more of a high-traffic area and would turn it into a “magnet” for skaters and skateboarders, he said. He also said the cost of paving would be far greater than of keeping it gravel, and such expense could be better spent on other village issues.

On the other hand, Jack Hellman, a resident of Prentiss Drive, favored the change to a concrete walk because it would make the pathway better defines, it could be plowed in winter and therefore keep the pathway open all year round.

Todd Phillips, a Prentiss Drive resident whose property actually abuts the walkway, said there was “no precedent” for the village to be allowed the pave the path and he found the idea “unacceptable,” saying there was no reason residents should be subjected to have a paved path across their yards.

Another Prentiss Drive resident, Steven Hartnett, said he would be “happy” to have a sidewalk on his property, citing this as a safety issue. “What we have now is not safe, it is not year-round usable,” he said. “I have five kids who use the path all the time. It is not safe for them to walk down Route 41A. All this is clouding the main issue: it is not safe for a kid to walk down Route 41A.”

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