Richmondville village officials are working to get funding for a multi-use trail to the proposed Dollar General store.
Village board members heard a presentation on the proposed store at their regular meeting last Tuesday and then held a special meeting Thursday on a possible alternate multi-use trail from the end of the Radez School driveway, along the creek in the Loder family's cornfield and to the new store.
"We need a safe way to get pedestrians to Dollar General," Mayor Kevin Neary stressed.
"We shouldn't wait until someone gets killed before you do something about it."
Funding is now the issue.
Village officials met with their engineers from Lamont Engineering and received an estimate of about $75,000 for the all-access, ADA compliant trail, according to Mayor Kevin Neary.
An estimate from the state Department of Transportation put the cost of a sidewalk to the store at $100,000.
Primax Properties, the developer for the project, has agreed to give $10,000 for a sidewalk in front of the store. That money might also go to the trail project, engineer Joshua O'Connor told village board members last Tuesday.
The village is applying for grants, and officials have contacted State Senator James Seward's office for aid.
The village, Mayor Neary said, should not be paying for a safe access to the new store.
"We should not burden the taxpayers of the village with paying for a pedestrian pathway. They (Dollar General) decided to build here," he said.
Dollar General is proposing to build a store about a quarter-mile east of Radez School driveway, across from the Richmondville Volunteer Emergency Squad station.
He noted that the building could be assessed at about $300,000 and with the village tax rate at slightly less than $6 per $1,000, the store's owners would be paying the village about $1,800 per year in taxes, a far cry from what is needed for an access.
"That's the safest access we can have. We think this is the safest option and the cheapest."
Pedestrian safety was a major concern among board members.
"I don't want to be part of a project that we say is fine but where we don't have a good plan to get pedestrians from the sidewalk to the Dollar General," noted Trustee Milan Jackson.
Trustee Vivian Thurber said that a direct crosswalk is needed from the senior citizen center to the proposed store.
The problem is that the speed limit in that area is currently 45mph and the speed limit would have to be reduced to 30mph before the DOT would allow a crosswalk across Route 7.
Board members approved a resolution asking that the speed limit be reduced.
The board needs to be proactive, he continued.
The recommendation to approve the store from the village planning board came with three conditions for approval. This trail could be another condition that needs to be met, Mayor Neary added.
The search for grant and state funding and the meetings with the developer will be ongoing, so a delay could be minimal, according to Mayor Neary.
If all the conditions are met, the village board could hold a special meeting before their regular meeting in August, he added.
Planning board co-chairperson Diana Spenello noted last Tuesday that Dollar General and the developers have agreed to put vinyl shutters on the sides of the building, have all signs meet zoning regulations, and to put in a fire hydrant.
The shutters "absolutely add a lot," Ms. Spenello added.
The basic Dollar General light box sign will be up for discussion. Any light could be on a timer, Mr. O'Connor said.