Proposed sidewalks divides West Travis County community
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Last week, Travis County Commissioners approved moving forward on a project that would put a sidewalk along a strip of road in West Travis County. Six years in the making, it’s a decision which has drawn plenty of controversy along the way.
Neighbors along El Rey Boulevard tell YNN they first brought the issue to the Travis County Commissioners in 2006 and in November 2011, more than $500,000 in a bond package.
"I live on El Rey and I often have to walk the neighborhood,” Rick Perkins with the Grenada Homeowners Association said. “Walking up and down the street, we often have to jump off the street into the ditch."
Despite its passing, public outcry put the project to a halt and brought it back before the commissioners on Tuesday.
"Now we realize that we have to fight our neighbors to get a sidewalk built which was almost unthinkable," Perkins said.
Many opposed to the construction pleaded their case before the commissioners, claiming the money to fund the sidewalk would be a rip-off to taxpayers.
There is also concern that construction could destroy trees in the neighborhood.
“The reason why people tend to lose faith in local government is because you see it being manipulated by small numbers of people to get things for themselves," neighbor Mike Ready said.
Ultimately the commission gave the green light for construction, siding with safety.
"This is one of those deals that is gut wrenching for an elected body because, quite frankly, both sides have really good arguments," Republican Precinct 3 Commissioner Gerald Daughtery said. "The trumping thing for me is the safety factor. It is not the money."