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Your Views: Janesville councilman disputes suggestion on sidewalks

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November 29, 2013

I want to vigorously disagree with City Council President Kathy Voskuil's characterization that councilmen had changed their minds completely and voted against the sidewalk plan. From the earliest days of my city council campaign, I have opposed the sidewalk plan.

Installing sidewalks is a project that should be done in a healthy, robust economy when people have good jobs and disposable income. This plan goes back almost five years. In 2008 the economy tanked and GM left town. Janesville has not yet recovered. This was not and is not the time to do this. In a worst-case scenario, you could push someone into foreclosure because they can't pay for their new sidewalks.

I also agree with Councilman Douglas Marklein's assessment that we need to take a close look at the characteristics of individual neighborhoods, not just look at a map. In one case, he pointed out that the neighborhood was actually designed without sidewalks and so the street was constructed 8 feet wider than a standard city street.

Last of all, I felt the vote was more about “We the sidewalk committee” and not “We the people.” There will never be a one-size-fits-all solution for this, but I believe we are on the right track to finding a viable solution.

BRIAN FITZGERALD

Janesville City Council



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