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06-29-04 St. Henry residents question sidewalk plan

By Janie Southard

  ST. HENRY -- Twenty-plus residents of the Osterholt subdivision presented the village council with a written list of concerns regarding the installation of sidewalks in their neighborhood during a Monday night meeting.

  The 37 residents signing the request for information stated: "We believe we have the right to have these concerns addressed, considered and answered satisfactorily before we can be forced to construct sidewalks on our properties."
  Early in the meeting, council members restated their intention to place sidewalks in the subdivision in keeping with the ongoing village sidewalk project.
  The residents' major concern stems from the original construction of the subdivision, which begins on Sunset Avenue off Columbus Street. The contractor improperly located the streets 30 years ago, leaving a hodgepodge of easements throughout, the residents said.
  One resident said she has a 20-foot easement on her property while there is no easement across the street, apparently a result of the contractor not locating the street in the center of the easement allotment.  Another concern is that "sidewalks will be located so close to the houses that property values will be decreased," the residents wrote.
  Mayor LaVern Schulte, who resides in the subdivision and had voiced support of the project in the past, said the village council 30 years ago had accepted the contractor's plans for Osterholt subdivision.
  "The original owners were told there would be no sidewalks and bought their property in good faith ... The town may have the right to come in and change things, but that doesn't make (those actions) right," the mayor said.
  Council member Bill Bohman expressed surprise at the mayor's position in the sidewalk matter.
  "I thought we were a team," he said. "We've put sidewalks in before, even though people complained. I believe sidewalks look pretty and keep the look of the town consistent."
  If council approves the project, residents will have to pay for the portion of sidewalk installed in front of their properties.
  Council members will study the list of concerns and answer or comment at the next council meeting on July 12.


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