GREENVILLE – The city may have a challenge to its ordinance to repair or replace sidewalks in disrepair. On Tuesday, Richard Halley addressed Greenville City Council and announced he has begun collecting signatures on a petition to force a referendum on the ordinance.
According to Halley, this is not his first attempt to stop a sidewalk ordinance outlining sidewalk regulations. An ordinance originally passed in 2001 and repealed a few months later may have been repealed due to an effort to put a referendum on the ballot then. In Greenville, if the public disagrees with the decision made by city council they have 30 days from the date of its passing to collect signatures of registered voters to force the issue to the ballot.
“I think it was critical that there was a three to three tie vote,” said Halley. However, the crux of Halley’s argument was the destruction of trees. “I’m for sidewalks,” he said. “I love that Fourth Street and such, but the city has yet to demonstrate to us, in my opinion, that you’re really serious about replacing trees that are removed.” He was disappointed the city did not plant trees on Fourth and Sweitzer streets in the spring. “There is no money budgeted for trees,” Halley said. “If we take the trees down and replace the sidewalks, the sidewalks don’t shade you; sidewalks don’t lower your utility bills in the summer. The sidewalks don’t purify the air. We need both trees and sidewalks and we need to do it intelligently.”
Safety Service Director Curt Garrison informed council later in the meeting the city will be planting trees on Fourth and Sweitzer streets this fall. The Greenville Tree Commission met last week to discuss the types of trees the city will purchase from an annual tree auction. Garrison pointed out this is an annual purchase the city makes and it is made in the fall to get a better price on the trees. There will be several varieties planted along Fourth and Sweitzer to allow for a colorful display in the fall. The city will spend approximately $6,000 on the trees.
Dale Crandall also addressed council and expressed his disappointment that his street has not been repaved. He received a letter in 2017 stating Wellsley Court would be repaved in 2019. He handed Mayor Steve Willman a piece of crumbled asphalt from the street and questioned why their deteriorating street had not been repaved. “It’s falling to pieces in chunks,” he told council. Crandall continued, “There is a rumor mill, 2020. Where did this come from?” he asked. “Folks, when is Wellsley Court going to get some restitution?” Council President John Burkett tried to explain the Planning & Zoning office puts together a list of roads that are to be resurfaced, but was interrupted by Crandall, “We never saw it, John.” Burkett shot back, “I don’t care whether you’ve seen it or not. I’m telling you that’s what they present to council that these are in need and have been graded and that’s what council goes by. We don’t go out and check the roads. That’s their responsibility.” Crandall said, “I don’t understand who’s not doing their job.”
Mayor Willman tried to explain that all of the streets are graded every year. “I understand your street is very bad, but it’s not the only one in town. When we get to the place we’re going to pave and present paving options, our plan for the city to the council…” Crandall interrupted, “Where are we at on that list?” Willman responded, “You dropped off. It dropped down because other ones got worse than yours.”