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Residents living near park seek fence

A handful of residents who live along a pedestrian entrance to the Town of Aurora's Majors Park want a fence erected to ensure privacy from park visitors.

Town Recreation Director Peggy Cooke last week outlined neighbors' concerns to town officials, who are considering seeking state permission for a privacy fence for about five residents whose properties are along a pedestrian walkway off South Street.

"The length of this [entrance] is so long, and the neighbors are not happy about it," Cooke told the Town Board.

In 2001, the Majors Park project was earmarked for $521,000 -- with half of it coming from the state and the remaining half matched by the town.

Because the fence was never identified in the original park project, Cooke said the town would have to formally request a change of scope from the state to pursue the fence.

"My guess is the state would pay for it because we're so far under budget," Cooke said.

Cooke said she would ask the affected residents what their preference would be for the height of the fence, but noted it would likely be somewhere between four and eight feet high.

One preliminary estimate the town received for an eight-foot-high fence totaled about $32,000, though a bidding process would be required. If the state approved the fence, it's expected that the town and state would split the cost.

Supervisor Jolene Jeffe said she has visited the site several times and noted that while the fence request is unfortunate, it may be necessary and certainly worth pursuing since original grant money has not been fully used.

Councilman James Collins asked if it was possible for the town to close off the one entrance to the park, and Cooke replied that that was not possible.

"If I was a neighbor and the backyards were visible, I wouldn't be happy, either," he said.

Cooke said the entrance would not be closed.

"That wasn't the intention of the park. It was to make it pedestrian-friendly," Cooke said.

The fence would need to be on town land along the edge of the pedestrian trail, and hopefully not disturbing the land, which could trigger another state-required environmental review, Cooke said.

Some board members asked whether the pedestrian entrance could be relocated slightly, but were told it could not encroach on the nearby Community Gardens off South Street.


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