There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins ...
FLAT ROCK — Where the sidewalk ends is with a big check, Flat Rock Village Council members are learning.
And while council members are chagrined at the cost overrun and delays, they voted grudgingly last week to keep marching toward the goal of running a half-mile walkway to connect Bonclarken and Little Rainbow Row. The project, in the newly adopted 2012-13 budget for $467,000, thus far has produced not a single brick paver. Problems with drainage and other unanticipated challenges have caused the West Blue Ridge Road project to soar in price.
The council agreed to keep the money in the budget but still has not committed to spend money.
"The council will do some study to see what the actual cost will be based on the highest end cost" and identify ways to trim costs before proceeding, said zoning administrator Judy Boleman. "Once we've done all that, they'll vote on whether to actually do it. They've made no commitment to spend any amount of money at this point in time."
Bob Demartini, one of the activists who worked to incorporate the Village of Flat Rock, told the council that the village has always closely watched spending and steadfastly opposed raising taxes.
"Now that the project has gotten to the order of a half million dollars, the question becomes does this jeopardize that objective," he said. "Have we looked at what the alternatives are to satisfy what the sidewalk would do for us without spending that kind of money?"
He suggested if the aim is to create access to the village center from Bonclarken, a trail through the woods coming out at the Blue Ridge Fire Department would work better and be cheaper. He asked whether the town had looked into grants.
Mayor Bob Staton said the village had gotten so entwined in red tape the last time it received a sidewalk grant "we thought we would have been better off if we had just written a check."
Councilman Nick Weedman said he supported sidewalks. "In fact, I favor a broader system of sidewalks," he said. "But the whole question is whether or not we continue to have granite curbing and brick pavers or can we go with something less expensive." Flat Rock's cost is up to $185 a linear foot versus $125 a foot the city of Hendersonville is paying for a new sidewalk on N.C. 191.
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