Main Street sidewalk project causes uproar - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Main Street sidewalk project causes uproar

Richard Lively is having trouble getting up a ramp. Richard Lively is having trouble getting up a ramp.
Councilman John Harris Councilman John Harris

July 22, 2003

Dawson-- There are thre areas of downtown Dawson that need new sidewalks. And the council's decision isn't sitting well with some merchants. One store owner says the Mayor's comments before the vote mislead council members.

Richard Lively is having trouble getting up a ramp on Lee Street in Downtown Dawson. "Its high, I can go down it allright and can't go up," he says.

The True Value store owner, Van Phillips, says this is a typical site. "It's three inches. It's not possible for a wheelchair to get up this ramp." The drain has a ten inch opening. "We have a 24 inch drop from here to this drain. Very dangerous, very dangerous."

True Value customers are not only greeted by a high sidewalk, a few steps away you have to battle with the loose and broken cement. "I feel the sidewalk we are standing on right now takes precedence over any other sidewalk they are going to do because of he liability that's involved," Phillips said. The sidewalk doesn't meet code.

Phillips wanted to be a part of the Main street Project, but council members voted him out. "I feel that, Mr. Phillips, even if he said he didn't want it and there was enough money to do the whole project they would have done it anyway," says Councilman John Harris.

On a tape recording, Mayor Robert Albritten says: "I know he didn't want it done, he didn't want us to touch his property."

"I feel if the council had been informed Mr. Phillips did want the sidewalk fixed then we could have made preperations or something different than we did putting all the money toward another section," Harris said.

They voted to spend the money on another sidewalk. "We'll have the north end of Main Street beautiful and now they'll do the south end," said NAACP President Ezekiel M. Holly.

The NAACP office is one of the seven businesses on the street. "It would benefit more businesses," Holly said.

 Phillips was not at Thursday's meeting because of an emergency. Work on South Main Street started Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Phillips has a petition with hundreds of signatures to show council members on Wednesday. The council will discuss Van Phillips sidewalk concerns during a special Meeting on Wednesday.

On another important subject, the council will also hear the results to the Dawson Police Department investigation. The meeting starts at 6:30.

posted at 6:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com