by Amanda Loviza
HURLEYVILLE – Months of organized chaos have given way to smooth concrete and calm streets as the sidewalk construction and renovation project on Main Street in Hurleyville wraps up.
The new sidewalks line the east side of Main Street from Thompson Street to the municipal parking lots in the center of the hamlet, as well as filling in gaps between old sidewalks down to the Hurleyville Makers Lab. The project was funded largely through a $100,000 grant awarded by Senator John Bonacic’s office, and it began in the spring. Town Supervisor Steve Vegliante said the sidewalks look great, and they provide a great service to the community.
“Overall, it’s one more improvement to a hamlet that’s getting better every day,” Mr. Vegliante said. “Anything we can do to increase access for people who aren’t able-bodied, that’s good.”
From people with disabilities to mothers with baby carriages to elderly residents, the new sidewalks make it far easier to traverse the length of Main Street. The Center for Discovery lent its expertise to the project by commissioning the sidewalk design and donating the engineering plans to the town. The width, grades and slopes of the new sidewalks are all compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, said TCFD Vice President for Operations and Administration David Fanslau, who has experience with municipal projects from his seven years as a Sullivan County manager.
Previously, steps from the municipal parking lot toward the Pickled Owl prevented anyone with mobility challenges from being able to use the sidewalk to get to businesses on that part of Main Street, Mr. Fanslau said. The foundation of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to remove physical barriers to participation, Mr. Fanslau said, such as in recreation and civic activities like visiting the Milk Train Trail, town basketball courts or the Hurleyville Arts Centre. Sidewalk renovations are a step toward the hamlet of Hurleyville realizing the public policy goals of the ADA, Mr. Fanslau said, and that’s a good thing.
Construction of the sidewalks caused weeks of lane closures along Main Street and some creative access to businesses like the Hurleyville Market and the Pickled Owl. Of course residents get frustrated with construction projects, particularly during summer, Mr. Vegliante said, but it is something that must be done in a region where construction can only take place during the busy season. There were no incidents during construction that the supervisor knew of. The only incomplete section now is by the parking lot, which is not quite finished. A traffic light is also scheduled to be installed.
Evan Allees, chef and owner of the Pickled Owl, admitted that it was a bit of a burden to have sidewalk construction clogging the entrance to his restaurant, so he is glad it’s over. It probably kept a few people from coming in during that timeframe, Mr. Allees said, but he says having the new sidewalk is “absolutely” better for the future.
“It was well worth it,” Mr. Allees said.
Next year will come the other side of the street—Mr. Fanslau said The Center has engaged engineering design services for the west side of Main Street, from the Hurleyville Arts Centre to Kile Farm Road. A county TAP grant has been awarded to fund the construction of those sidewalks, which will probably begin next summer.
But long before that happens, Mr. Vegliante said he hopes the contractors on the east side of Main Street have fully wrapped up and left town by mid-October, so the residents can enjoy walking the streets of their hamlet, patronizing businesses and visiting the newly paved rail trail.