Asbury Residents Split Over Street Improvement Project
ASBURY – Carol Coohey isn’t the only resident who doesn’t like the new plan.
“We’ve lived here since 1997. [We] never saw the need for sidewalks.”
Several other residents affected by the proposed update to Springreen Road aren’t happy either.
“If they take 6 [feet] for the sidewalk and the green space,” says Joe Spahn, who lives along Springreen Road, “I’d be awful lucky just to park a car in my driveway.”
“This neighborhood was definitely not built with the intention of sidewalks,” says Tricia Anderson, another Springreen resident.
The City of Asbury is looking to update one of the city’s main roads with a sidewalk and other features, including a new water main and street repairs.
The sidewalk in and of itself would cost an average of less than $700 for the 48 households affected, but those residents required to receive every update would have to pay an average of $3,681.
The price tag is an obvious deterrent for many residents.
“I already took a petition to the city of Asbury at the council meeting last year,” said Coohey, whose property would also be charged for the proposed updates.
However, City Administrator Beth Bonz says those numbers can be a bit misleading.
“We have a special assessment policy where no more than 25% of the costs are assessed to the property owner.”
In fact, the city may even be fronting more than 75% of the cost of the project due to how wide the street actually is.
While some residents are expressing concern with the project, others see the safety benefits the renovations could bring to the neighborhood.
“Little kids walk along this street with this busy traffic and they’re coming home from school, and it’s not safe,” says Kathy Erickson, who often walks her dogs along Springreen Road.
“The traffic’s up, the speed of the vehicles are up, it seems like…from just a safety point of view, they really need sidewalks,” says Paul Erickson.
Bonz also expressed her support, saying, “I have been City administrator since 2004, [and] with the advent of the schools being in the community, that has been our biggest push, to have sidewalks for children to walk safely to and from school.”
Still, others question the time frame and necessity of the project.
“Those schools up there have been there for 11 years now,” says Joe Spahn, “[So] why now?”
City officials are planning to walk along Springreen Road here in the next few days and discuss the pros and cons with residents, but progress has already been moving forward on this project since its inception in 2013, according to Bonz. The expected start date for construction, if the project were to proceed, would be 2019.