residents tell council they're fed up with sidewalk
By Liz Lawyer
April 7, 2006 | WELLSVILLE -- Citizens made an appearance
at the City Council meeting Wednesday to make sure council
members knew their opinion: the sidewalks are a fiasco.
"The sidewalk issue has made a mess of this city,"
said Phil Bankhead. The issue of the sidewalk ordinance
has been fought over ever since it was pushed through
10 years ago, Bankhead told the council.
"Sidewalks have cost us more grief than anything,"
said Mayor Ruth Maughan.
Sidewalks in Wellsville often have dead ends, Bankhead
said, and some are badly deteriorated, said Clark Maughan,
another citizen who came to ask the council to do something.
Bankhead said even though there are sidewalks available
along roads children use on their way to and from school,
they often don't use them, preferring to walk in the
road rather than walk through the mud when the sidewalk
The council has proposed collecting a sidewalk fund
from all Wellsville citizens and then having a professional
assessment done to decide where sidewalks are most needed.
However, this would leave some who paid for sidewalks
in other neighborhoods without sidewalks in their own.
"Then everyone comes in saying, 'I paid in, I want
sidewalks,'""said Councilman Ron Case.
Bankhead said people "wouldn't get squealing if you
would have [the sidewalks] going somewhere." He complained
that issues such as this, which make living in Wellsville
a hassle, drive away the children of current residents.
"You're making it so nobody's kids will live in this
town," he said.
Bankhead also said collecting the fund before the
assessment was illogical.
"I wouldn't buy a car and then take a survey about
whether it's a good car," he said. "It makes no sense
to pass the ordinance before you get a professional's
Council members have proposed several ideas as to
how to handle the problem. Councilwoman Marcene Parker
is in favor of collecting a "little teeny part of a
tax" to cover expenses of constructing sidewalks.
Councilman Lynn Cooper said he thought "the cleanest
way to do this is to have sidewalk districts," so only
those whose property lies within the districts pay into
The other alternative is having the property owners
bear the brunt of the costs when the city decides to
put sidewalks in front of their homes. Councilman Dick
Wells said the cost could be substantial.
The council discussed all these options and agreed
Mayor Maughan will write a proposal for the next meeting.
In other business, the council passed a motion to
issue a letter giving citizens 14 days to remove debris
and vehicles from the city right-of-way, after which
time the city will take action as permitted by law.
The motion was suggested by resident Jerry Cokely, who
volunteered his time as a city clean-up coordinator.
He said a notice to all citizens to clean up the streets
in front of their homes went unheeded, so he felt it
would be necessary to "put teeth in the comment."
Cokely said he would be willing to be in charge of
making sure citizens do their part to keep clean the
city right-of-ways, which are 99 feet on some roads
and 66 feet on others in Wellsville. He will mail notices
to residents telling them the ordinances regulating
vehicles and junk will now be enforced.
He said he went around town and counted violations
of these laws. He said he found, among other things,
13 cars and trucks parked in the city right-of-way,
22 miscellaneous cars left in the right-of-way, a mobile
home, a camper shell and 11 cases of "obvious debris,"
including barbed wire, a commercial saw, a plywood skateboard
ramp, and a pile of building blocks not at a construction
Cokely said the city can tow cars left in the right-of-way,
and he is inquiring whether the city can charge for
the removal of junk. He said a scrap dealer in Logan
is willing to take metal scraps discarded along the
Also, the council voted to put in traffic signs on
300 West at 400 South and 500 South, warning drivers
of an autistic child. The child's parents, Darlene and
J.R. Petersen, said their son tends to dart across the
road and "doesn't stop when you say stop.
"We have that nice new road there put in by the city
and it encourages traffic to come faster than it should,"
J.R. said. Darlene said their son also has hearing problems.