Village of Wappingers Battles Central Hudson Over Broken Sidewalk
It's been three long years since the sidewalk on West Main Street in the Village of Wappingers was broken by Central Hudson. Since then, the utility has refused to pay to get it repaired, forcing the Village to go to court.
After a pedestrian was struck by a car this week, it appears that a fix may soon be on the horizon.
Frustration and Anger Over Broken Sidewalk
Local developer Anthony Hardisty has been busy bringing the western side of the village back to life. He's behind the construction of new shops and apartments next to The Hog and is currently working on transforming an old building into a restaurant next to the new municipal parking lot on West Main Street.
However, all of the work that's gone into connecting East Main Street to West Main Street has been hampered by a crumbling sidewalk that's making it extremely dangerous to walk through the Village. Hardisty blames "finger-pointing" and red tape for holding back the village from being able to reach its potential.
Broken Sidewalk Blamed for Pedestrian Accident
Mayor Kevin Huber says a pedestrian was struck by a van this week after attempting to navigate the sidewalk on West Main Street. Because there's no crosswalk in the area, visitors to the village must quickly walk on the narrow street to get around the broken sidewalk, putting themselves at risk of getting hit by a car.
The mayor says that he's been told by the Department of Transportation that the Village will need to pay $500,000 for a traffic study before they'd consider a crosswalk. Huber says he's sent a letter to the State of New York requesting that they foot the bill, but has not heard a response.
Central Hudson Blamed for Broken Sidewalk
Even if approved, a new crosswalk would only serve as a bandaid for the real problem, which is a crumbling sidewalk that has been blocked off for three years.
The issue started when a new sidewalk was being built as a part of the Village's beautification project. Contractors hit a gas line near the corner of East and West Main Street and, according to Huber, Central Hudson was called to repair it. Instead of just fixing the area that was affected, the utility decided to replace the entire line.
The Village of Wappingers claims that Central Hudson parked their heavy truck on the sidewalk causing it to crumble under the weight. A retaining wall was damaged, causing the land underneath to slide into Wappinger Creek.
Central Hudson May Be Ready to Take Blame
Mayor Huber says he's enlisted the help of state politicians to put pressure on Central Hudson to pay for the damages, but the issue has been stuck in the courts for years. Meanwhile, residents and visitors to the village continue to be put in harm's way by simply walking down the street.
After reaching out to Central Hudson for comment, they appear to have changed their position on the matter. In a statement, the utility says that the matter will be resolved soon.
We continue to work with officials from both the Village of Wappingers and officials from the New York State Department of Transportation to come to a resolution on this matter. We hope to arrive at a resolution that allows for a complete restoration of the area in the coming weeks.
The promise of a "complete restoration of the area" is not something we've heard from Central Hudson until now. And, if the statement is true, an agreement on who will get the job done is expected soon.
We will continue to follow the story as the Village of Wappingers, the Department of Transportation and Central Hudson work to fix the sidewalk. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved before any more pedestrians are hurt.
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