It's Too Late Now
October 4, 2007
At Tuesday's City Council meeting an innocuous line entry (E 7.) appeared on the Agenda in Manager's Report No. 356. The item was "Calhoun/Fair/South/Country Club Road/Route 47 - Update of Calhoun/Fair/South/Country Club Road/Route 47 Roadway Improvements and authorization for the acquisition of right-of-way and easements."
The Public was asked if it wanted any items removed from the Consent Calendar, and no one spoke up. I should have.
About three-four years ago Public Works held a hearing on this project. Several homeowners showed up. The project discussed at that time was creating a road parallel to Route 47 and running north and south from McConnell Road to Calhoun. The McDonald's exit to Route 47 would be closed and Calhoun St. would no longer intersect with Route 47. Everything went along smoothly. When no one else asked what the project was going to cost, I did. If memory serves me correctly, it was in the area of $6,000,000 PLUS land acquisitions. At the time, Federal and State funds were thought to be available that would pay 90% of the cost. So that makes it all right?
Some time later I inquired about the project and learned it was dead in the water. Well, it looks like it floated back to the surface. The kicker here is that Item 7 was not just an "update"; it was an authorization for the acquisition of right-of-way and easements. OK, at what cost?
Did the City just commit $6,-10,000,000 for a roadway that, 3-4 years ago, was being designed not to relieve Route 47 traffic? Is this the project that was the topic of the hearing 3-4 years ago? The stated purpose of the roadway, at that time, was to provide residents with an access to businesses on Route 47 without fighting traffic ON Route 47.
What businesses? Jewel had moved or was moving. The old Jewel property was virtually vacant, except for the DMV and a few small businesses. Dominick's was out of the picture or soon would be. There was no back entrance to DeCraene's or Vaughan's. Would they pay to extend a driveway far to the west? For a few customers? Probably not.
Are we Woodstockers, including me, so asleep at the switch that we are not watching carefully enough what the Council is doing? Remember that, recently, the Council asked where it would get $10,000,000 for a solution to flooding problems less than two months old?
Why did no City Council person remove this item from the Consent Calendar for discussion with the public, at least to inform the public how much money the Council was about to spend?
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