Editorial: Talking it out

April 4, 2014 

We are stymied as to why a trio of property owners along Wendell Boulevard haven’t been willing to work with the town to build a sidewalk that would serve residents using Wendell Boulevard near its interesection with Selma Road.

The town won a grant to build a sidewalk that would run from the Oliver House all the way to where the existing sidewalk ends in front of Selma Road. But because of three property owners, the project remains unfinished and residents – including some in wheel chairs who live at the Oliver House, must continue to walk in the street to get where they are going.

Commissioners have said they will not invoke the town’s power of eminent domain, which would allow them to take the property they need to build the sidewalk. Town attorney Jim Cauley has matter-of-factly said condemnation would be the most expensive way the town could acquire the land.

So commissioners have agreed to go to the property owners once again – this time with a face-to-face meeting to explain what the town wants to do and how it would affect those three parcels.

That idea makes a lot of sense. It’s quite likely the property owners in question didn’t understand what was being asked of them.

A friendly conversation could go a long way toward improving communications between the town and the property owners. We hope that’s the only problem those property owners have with the request. And we hope town leaders will be clear in their explanations so that everyone involved see this as a responsible request.

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