Skaneateles Upgrade work to the Prentiss Drive pedestrian walkway — an issue that caused much political friction this past spring – should begin within the next few weeks, although the work may have to be done by an outside contractor instead of the village public works crews.
The expected work to restore the path to its crushed gravel appearance has been unable to begin because the village Department of Public Works has a small crew and one member has been absent for a month, said Mayor Marty Hubbard at the Oct. 11 village board meeting.
“We're really not up to speed on this Prentiss Path like I think we had represented to the public we would be and I think we have a responsibility to get that done," Hubbard said.
He suggested that if DPW crews are unable to accomplish the job within the next few weeks the board should consider hiring a local contractor to do the work instead.
Trustees Sue Jones and Jim Lanning both agreed with Hubbard’s suggestion. Village Director of Public Works Bob Lotkowicz was not at the meeting, so the board agreed to consult with him on whether DPW crews will be able to do the work or not.
The pedestrian pathway, which connects the Prentiss Drive neighborhood to West Lake Street, became a hot-button issue last spring after the village’s decision to restore the partly marshy path led to arguments over whether to pave it as a sidewalk or keep it as crushed gravel. 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.
What started as a disagreement between the village and the residents became a legal issue when residents hired a lawyer to represent their cause. After a heated public hearing on the issue on April 26, the village board decided not to pave the path but restore the crushed gravel appearance.
Also at the meeting:
—The board set a Halloween night curfew in the village for 9 p.m.
—The board rescheduled its second meeting in November to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.