Jul 29, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
After a false start three years ago, the village of Cazenovia is once again looking the possibility of extending the Fenner Street sidewalk from where it currently ends between Naomi Drive and Carriage Lane to the Sean M. Googin Memorial Sports Complex.
The village and town boards held a joint meeting on the issue recently and the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association has submitted an application for state grant funding to pay for the project.
“If we don’t get the grant we’ll probably wait and apply again next year,” said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. “If the grant is approved we probably won’t hear until fall, which means we’ll have all winter for detailed planning and engineering and we’d hope to break ground next spring.”
The idea for an extended Fenner Street sidewalk down to the athletic fields was previously broached about three years ago, when the village, town and school district agreed on the positive community benefit of such a project, held a joint meeting and commissioned an engineering study of how best to achieve the work.
That study determined — and village and town officials still agree — it is best to continue the sidewalk where it currently ends, go up past the village’s Evergreen Cemetery (which impacts mostly village land) and then continue to a safe sight distance to cross Fenner Street into the field parking lot at the driveway entrance, Wheeler said.
The project was not pursued at that time because there was no funding available to undertake it.
The state Department of Transportation grant the village is seeking for funding is “extremely competitive” this year, and although the Fenner Street project should receive a high score it is far from certain the village will win the funding, said Lauren Lines, CACDA’s executive director, who is working on the funding application for the village.
“The need for a sidewalk to Fenner Fields has been discussed in the past by municipal officials, however, funding has not been available. When a new round of funding from NYS DOT was announced I approached the village about submitting an application,” Lines said. “This is a very competitive program, so funding is certainly not guaranteed. If funded, this project would help to improve the walkability of our community by connecting the village sidewalk system with this major center of community activity.”
If the village does not receive the grant this year, next year should be a better opportunity to apply, Lines said.
At the village and town joint public meeting on the sidewalk project on July 15, both boards’ members and the few public members in attendance were “generally very supportive” of the project, although a few neighbors raised concerns about safety issues, “which was great input,” Wheeler said.
While the Cazenovia Central School District is not a direct partner in the sidewalk project, the district is “absolutely supporting it” and sent a letter to that effect to the village, said district Superintendent Bob Dubik.
“This would help create safe passageway for everybody, not just for students, and we hope it is approved,” Dubik said.
Currently the district busses athletes to Fenner Fields for athletic practices and games.
If and when the sidewalk project comes to fruition, the village has been designated the lead agency in cooperation with the town and Madison County.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.