HALLOWELL — There is no room for a sidewalk if decorative boulders aren’t moved in Hallowell.

 

That is what Maine Department of Transportation officials found Tuesday, one day after the City Council voted to approve $35,500 in funding for a four-foot wide sidewalk — if it could be built around boulders that line the Lucky Garden restaurant’s sidewalk. The money they planned to use was from bond funds not spent when the sidewalk was taken out of road reconstruction project plans last year.

City Manager Nate Rudy said city and state officials surveyed the land on Tuesday and found the rocks would have to be moved two to three feet into the restaurant’s parking lot to accommodate a sidewalk.

In December 2018, councilors asked City Manager Nate Rudy to look into finishing a stretch of sidewalk — halted during Water Street’s reconstruction at the request of the owners of the Lucky Garden to keep a set of boulders — from the eatery to the northern entrance of the state boat landing. It was also mentioned in December 2018 that the sidewalk could be added to an upcoming renovation of the boat landing.

Maine Department of Transportation Project Manager Ernie Martin said he spoke with Lucky Garden owner Annie Huang after the survey, and she maintained her position of not wanting to move the boulders. Martin recommended that city officials meet with the Huangs before they make their next decision.

“At this point, the (transportation) department has done their due diligence to convey to the property owner what is going to happen.” he said. “The city already made one decision to not do it, and now they kind of have to revisit it.”

Rudy said Wednesday the city “will do everything we can” to respect the wishes of all parties concerned about the sidewalk.

The Kennebec Journal requested comment from all seven City Councilors, but none responded. Highway Committee Chair Maureen AuCoin and member Diano Circo did not respond to a second request for comment. The final member of the Highway Committee, Councilor Michael Frett, said he was out-of-state visiting family and the Kennebec Journal should to speak to someone currently in Hallowell.

 

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
[email protected]
Twitter: @SamShepME

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