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Wheatfield board takes first step toward making Krueger Road safer

WHEATFIELD – The Town Board took its first step Monday toward making Krueger Road safer in the wake of a tragedy there last November.

The board directed Highway Superintendent Paul A. Siegmann to fill in a drainage ditch stretching 860 feet along the road, near Ward Road, giving pedestrians a place to avoid the traffic. Siegmann said he will install drainpipe and fill in the ditch with stone. The work is estimated to cost $10,000.

“It’s a start,” said Kelly Dueger, stepmother of Ryan Fischer, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Krueger in November.

She and her neighbor, Deborah Fadel, said they want the town engineer, Timothy J. Zuber, to study whether the town should place sidewalks on one side of Krueger or widen the shoulders on both sides. At the last meeting, Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said that either option probably would cost $500,000 or more.

Zuber gave the board an estimate of $3,700 for a study to determine, as Cliffe said, “the best and most cost-effective way to come up with safety on that road.”

The board will make a decision on the study at its July 13 meeting.

Cliffe said that any project might require creating a special district to pay for it.

“The town could build it, the town could bond it, and charge it back as a tax,” the supervisor said.

Councilman Gilbert G. Doucet said one of the questions would be the boundaries of such a district.

“We were thinking Krueger Road and all those smaller feeder streets, not Ward or Nash (roads),” Dueger said.

She said the residents of the side streets off Krueger seemed to be more upset about traffic conditions than those on Krueger itself.

“We’d be on their porches for five or 10 minutes while they vented,” Dueger said.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself; this is Wheatfield,” said Walter Freiert, of Baer Road, calling for Krueger to be “fixed right.”

“Are we going to go the cheapest route or do the right thing?” Freiert asked.

“We’re going to do the right thing; that’s what we do,” Cliffe replied.

But he said that “if we start the process of sidewalks at the expense of the town, it’s going to be half a million, $2 million a year.”

Cliffe said he has had requests for sidewalks on Jagow and Shawnee roads.

In response to a resident, the board voted to ask the state Department of Transportation to study whether there should be more traffic signals on Shawnee, where numerous subdivisions have been built in recent years.

Also Monday, the board authorized the borrowing of $500,000 to pay for improvements at Fairmount Park, including a new restroom building and paved trails connecting sports fields to the parking lots. Town Attorney Robert J. O’Toole said the borrowing is subject to a referendum.

Cliffe said the town probably would issue a bond-anticipation note for what it expects to be the whole cost and await the promised 50 percent reimbursement from the state for the work. Then the town would issue a five-year bond for the remaining half of the cost, which Cliffe said would likely be about $230,000.

He said the state would have allowed a project of up to $700,000, which is what the board approved in March, but the board decided to cut it back.

Budget Officer Edward D. Mongold said the money probably would not be borrowed until September. The last time the town issued a note, he said, the interest rate was under 2 percent.