Farmington business owners upset over sidewalks

Posted at: 03/28/2013 4:33 PM
Updated at: 03/28/2013 5:55 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Some business owners say the town of Farmington wasted their money and they want answers. They say the town spent thousands on what they call "a path to nowhere.” Basically, it's a sidewalk in front of a business that leads to open fields on both sides. Business owners were so upset they purchased a sign and put it up on the road.

While some business owners are complaining, the town says it is the cost of doing business in the southwest part of town. That's an area they say is up and coming. As it develops, the town says this is a way to make it safe and pedestrian friendly, but some business owners News10NBC spoke to say this is a waste of money.

One frustrated business owner put up a sign on his property. It says, “No new jobs this year! Thank the town of Farmington for making us spend $50,000 on this useless sidewalk.”

Paul Giellette, owner of Safe Place Self Storage, says the town required him to put in a sidewalk and crosswalk before opening. He says the sidewalk is pointless, connecting a dead end street to an open field.

The town made it a requirement in 2011 if a business wants to develop land or expand, they have to foot the cost of a sidewalk.

Ron Brand, Director, Town Planning and Development, said, “Creating a network of sidewalk facilities so that employees of the businesses, residents of the neighborhood, and visitors of the town of Farmington  and our casino over here have a pedestrian network they can uses safely.”

Business owner and town board member, Tim Micklesen says while it may look like a waste now, you have to look at the bigger picture.

Tim Mickelsen, town board member and business owner, said, “Short term thinking, they are looking only at their initial property. They aren't looking at the big picture of when it is all developed it is part of building a network. You have to start somewhere.”

But Giellette isn't so sure.

Paul Giellette said, “I don't know if they will ever all connect, at least in our lifetime. Even if they do, I don't think they will be used much, at least in this area. It is industrial, which means factories and things like that. You don't have walk up customers.”

Brand said, “Maybe on any given day, there may not be a lot of people walking there but the safety that the sidewalks provide is something you can't put a number on.”

The business owner says he spent $50,000 on the sidewalk. The town says there is no way he spent that much on a sidewalk alone. Another business owner, who put in a sidewalk about a quarter of the size, said he paid $7,000 for his.