Still no solutions to Hammond sidewalk issueIn what has become one of the most tumultuous issues the Hammond Village Board has dealt with in the past year, the street/sidewalk project is still in limbo.
By: Jackie Grumish, New Richmond News
In what has become one of the most tumultuous issues the Hammond Village Board has dealt with in the past year, the street/sidewalk project is still in limbo.
The project proposal began last August and still has Village residents wondering when and if their property will be altered due to construction of new streets/sidewalks.
Rod Turk, director of public works for the Village, presented a plan to the Board that included tentative plans for sidewalks and new road construction in the Village. Turk pointed out that in order to proceed with the road and sidewalk project, an initial plan has to be laid out first.
“This is just the framework for what you write the plan about,” Turk said.
Residents packed the conference room at the Village offices and voiced their concerns about the lack of communication between the Board and the citizens concerning the street/sidewalk projects.
Trustee Chris Buckel agreed with the residents’ concerns.
“More should be done to inform the public about why, how and when this project is going to be done,” Buckel said.
Village residents in attendance discussed their displeasure with the Board for the lack of communication between the Board and Village citizens.
One homeowner asked the Board why updates on the street/sidewalk project were not posted on the Village Web site, as the Board promised months ago.
Turk said that he was put in charge of coming up with the street plan to increase safety after the Board decided the need for one.
“I’m sick of being the one having fingers pointed at,” Turk said. “We have to clarify what is actually being approved.”
After a considerable amount of discussion between Board members and those in attendance, it was decided to send the street/sidewalk issue back to the public works committee for further review.
Buckel suggested that the committee provide an explanation for the projects, updates on what is happening, information on who will be responsible for payment, timelines and other important information, and mail it to Village residents and allow them a chance to speak.
In other business:
• The Village decided to pay for half of the assessed value of a shed on the property of John and Mary Rivard in the amount of approximately $1,900 and also for the cost to raze the structure.
The shed is situated in the right of way for the upcoming street project and needs to be removed.
The Board voted to award the Rivards the money after hearing statements by Village Attorney Tim Scott, who researched the history of the property. Mary Rivard, a Board member, recused herself from the vote.
John Rivard argued that, because he has paid taxes on the property for the past 34 years, he was entitled to payment by the Village for taking the structure away from him.
Scott argued that for 34 years, Rivard has paid taxes on the building. He also had the use of it. In his research, Scott found out that the owners previous to the Rivards had given the deed to the property to the Village and this was an oversight when the Rivards took possession of the property in the 1960s.
• An agenda item to purchase a new utility vehicle for the public works department died as no motion was made on its behalf.
“I just don’t think it’s a good time with the economy the way it is,” Trustee Mike Artiaga said of the truck purchase.
• The Board approved the purchase of a document scanner for the clerk’s office in the amount of $479.
• The Board approved the archiving of past meeting minutes and Village municipal codes onto disk. The meetings would go back to 1992 and would be easily searchable and transferrable to the Village Web site. The cost for the digitization of the minutes is $1,450.
• The Board approved the purchase of new garbage containers for the Village Park. The garbage containers currently in use at the park will be moved to Davis Street.