By Jill Hanning
LEBANON - Reconstruction on Deerfield Road, slated to begin in May, could include installation of sidewalks despite opposition from some residents.
A first reading of a resolution that approves sidewalks along the east side of the street is set for this evening's City Council meeting, but some residents don't want the sidewalks interrupting the historical look of their neighborhood.
The installation has already been contracted to W.G. Stang Inc. as part of a $237,721 project that will replace old pavement and create new gutters, curbs, handicap ramps and a storm sewer system on the two residential blocks between Orchard and Wright avenues, Service Director Scott Brunka said.
The first phase of the project, reconstructing the three blocks from Park to East avenues, was completed last year.
"I'm not a proponent of putting sidewalks in for the sake of putting sidewalks in," said Mayor Amy Brewer. "I don't know if it makes sense in this area."
Brunka said sidewalks are being considered to lend connectivity between the sidewalks on Wright and Orchard avenues.
"Connectivity already exists in that neighborhood," said Dean Wiethe, a homeowner whose property borders Deerfield Road. "Trees that don't belong to the city will be affected. This is a tree city, not a city initially built with sidewalks."
But Brunka said the option being considered would install sidewalk on the east side of Deerfield only, where no trees would be affected.
City Manager Pat Clements said there has been no specific request for sidewalk installation, but it was included in the evaluation of the entire streetscape.
Residents who attended last week's session said traffic is not a problem on that section of Deerfield Road, that pedestrians and bicyclists use the street without danger, and sidewalks are unnecessary.
"The look of Deerfield is something we don't want to lose," said resident Lois Shanteau.
"There have been no sidewalks for the last 115-120 years. I don't think we need any now," Wiethe said. "It would be a waste of money."
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