October 15, 2014

Senior Residents Will Face Physical Challenges, Expenses, If Council Approves Sidewalk Project

To the Editor:

As long-time residents of Princeton and senior citizens, my wife and I oppose an ordinance that is before the mayor and Council of Princeton that would force the construction of new sidewalks on the section of Poe Road from Random Road to Princeton Kingston Road. In fact, not a single family living in the seven homes that would be directly affected by the project support the sidewalks. This controversial project would place extreme economic and physical hardships upon Poe Road residents and force unnecessary cement sidewalks on both sides of Poe Road.

Poe Road, in the Littlebrook Elementary School and historic Carnasa Park districts, intersects Princeton Kingston Road, which as part of the Kings Highway has both state and national designation as a historic area, given in part for its scenic beauty and rural character. Sidewalks would permanently destroy the rural character of Poe Road.

Affected residents would be forced to pay half the cost of this wasteful project! My wife and I are being assessed almost $4,200. This is an extreme hardship to us as seniors! Indeed, of the seven affected families, five consist of senior citizens and/or retired and physically challenged persons. To fight the sidewalk proposal, Poe Road residents have formed the Poe Road Preservation Association and six of the seven families have already signed a petition opposing the project.

In addition to the unfair additional costs, we would also be forced to maintain the unnecessary sidewalk, both through repairs and through snow removal, and there are liability issues if someone falls on the sidewalks Princeton constructs. Since our home is on the corner of Princeton Kingston and Poe Roads, my wife and I would be required to shovel snow on sidewalks on both State and municipal properties amounting to almost 300 feet! Since we are both well into our sixties with serious health issues, we simply are not physically capable of this feat. At a the public meeting on August 4, Municipal Engineer Robert Kiser stated that residents — including seniors and those physically challenged — would be fined if they do not remove snow and ice in the time allotted under town ordinances.

Other Princeton seniors and physically challenged persons and those living on fixed incomes should watch carefully how the mayor and Council vote on the wasteful Poe Road sidewalk project. After all, if the mayor and Council can force the construction of sidewalks here against the opposition of the community, there is no telling what unnecessary and unwanted construction projects they could force against other Princeton neighborhoods. Greedy outside developers and construction companies need to be constantly fed, and they are licking their chops over the rural neighborhoods of Princeton. Our senior citizens, many who have lived and paid taxes for decades in Princeton, have earned the right to remain in their homes and retire in Princeton!

We ask all concerned residents to tell the mayor and Council of Princeton to vote NO on the Poe Road sidewalk project!

Robert De Martino
Princeton Kingston Road