|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 27 July 2011 12:00|
The Town of Camp Verde is moving forward with a small downtown land swap to install new sidewalks along Hollamon Street.
The town tossed around the idea of putting in sidewalks along the street for years, since it’s a reasonably frequent pedestrian corridor. Now the town has a plan and the grant money to get the project done. Funding was provided through a Community Development Block Grant, money from the federal government set aside for projects that provide a benefit to low- or moderate-income areas.
Town Public Works Director Ron Long said the town has been working with the owner of a Main Street café on the corner of Main and Hollamon streets.
“They own a parking lot there,” Long said. “To get the sidewalk past that, we’d need to purchase property from the owners.”
After talking with the land owner, Long said they found a piece of land to trade for the area the town needs for the sidewalk. The land parcels are nearly identical in size, with a less than 24-square foot difference in size between the two.
The land the café owner wants originally belonged to him, Long said, but was taken several years ago during the installation of other sidewalks as part of the town’s Main Street beautification efforts. Long said he didn’t feel as if there was much point in holding on to that particular piece of land, especially since the town doesn’t currently have any plans for improvements or other uses for the land.
“The value to the town is actually in the future,” Long said. “We can look at a better alignment, put in a turn lane. Right now some of the crosswalks don’t quite line up right.”
The Camp Verde Town Council voted 4-0 June 20 to allow a deed swap.
Long said the alternative would have been to put some of the sidewalk on the other side of the street, which would have required more serious engineering work to mitigate existing storm water and drainage issues.
“That would definitely add to the cost of the project,” Long said.
The second plan would have also required a pedestrian to cross the street an extra time to stay on the sidewalk.
Councilwoman Carol German pointed out the town would still need to have the area surveyed prior to the project.
Councilwoman Robin Whatley was not able to attend the meeting, but she did give a letter to Mayor Bob Burnside to read to the public expressing her desire to see the sidewalk project put on hold and the money spent on the Camp Verde Senior Center instead.
The senior center, located on Maryvale Drive, is aging and Whatley said it is in desperate need of upgrade and improvement.
In the letter, Whatley states her previous vote for the sidewalk instead of the senior center was one of the most difficult votes she has had to cast, but her decision at the time was predicated on the belief the town would lose the sidewalk project if it didn’t commit the money.
Since then, Whatley has looked into the issue further and feels the town could put sidewalks on hold with no negative effect to the project.
“The senior center is in dire need of substantial upgrades now,” Whatley’s letter read.
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