Village board decides not to pave Prentiss Drive pedestrian pathway

— The Skaneateles Village Board of Trustees has decided not to pave the pedestrian walkway in the Prentiss Drive subdivision and instead to restore it to a crushed gravel appearance, closing an issue that has caused much friction between the neighborhood residents and the village in recent months.

“We cannot recommend that the pedestrian pathway be paved … even though we are satisfied that the village has the legal right to install a sidewalk,” Trustee Mary Sennett read from a prepared statement at the board’s May 10 meeting.

At issue was the future of a pedestrian walkway that runs through the neighborhood as a way to connect the Prentiss drive residents to West Lake Street. The crushed stone and gravel walkway has been there more than 20 years, but starting about five years ago, after an electric line was installed underground, the path has become in spots a marshy collection of mud and water in warm weather.

The village is responsible for the path’s upkeep and, in deciding to restore the path in 2012, was urged by some neighborhood residents to make the path a paved sidewalk rather than keep it as crushed stone and gravel. This raised the ire of neighbors who wanted to keep it a path rather than a sidewalk, and what started as a disagreement between the village and the residents became a legal issue when residents hired a lawyer to represent their cause. Since then, the lawyers from both sides have been hashing out the issues privately and the village board has refused to discuss the subject at public meetings.

The concern and outcry reached such a pitch that the board held a public hearing on April 26 to discuss the matter. That hearing lasted one hour and heard opinions from numerous residents on both sides of the issue.

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