Town commissioners are taking an unconventional approach to try to complete a sidewalk project.
Commissioner Sam Laughery suggested the town do something completely within its ability (but often forgotten en lieu of paperwork) to get permission to continue a sidewalk through three separate properties owned by three different people: Try to talk it out.
“(We should try) to approach the owners personally to talk these folks into doing what we think is the right thing,” Laughery said at the March 25 board meeting. “I think that would be a very nice solution.”
The town has been trying to get easements along the edge of a body shop, car wash and convenience store to complete a sidewalk from the Oliver House to an existing sidewalk on Wendell Boulevard across from Selma Road.
The project was originally funded with a grant, but the grant timeline has run out. If the town can convince property owners to cooperate, the cost would have to come from the town or a new grant.
Town manager Teresa Piner told board members the town made efforts by sending owners letters and contacting them on the phone. Commissioner Jon Lutz agreed with Laughery about trying to make a more personal appeal.
“I think a face-to-face visit might be a nice touch,” Lutz said.
Commissioners asked Piner to prepare a document to bring to the owners during the friendly conversations. The document will not include any sort of financial commitment on behalf of the town.
As discussed, there is no timeline for the casual courtings, although Piner told commissioners funding for the project and approval from the North Carolina Department of Transportation would not be in place until next fiscal year.