West Side resident seeks safety, sidewalks
By Eileen Persike
A west side resident addressed the Rhinelander City Council last week to plant a seed that he hopes will grow to become a sidewalk.
Ben Meyer and his family live in a neighborhood off Davenport Street, near Hwy 47. He told the council he and his young son drove to the meeting that night, but would have liked to walk instead.
“If we had walked here tonight it would have taken us about 15 minutes, probably about a mile and a half,” Meyer said during the public comment period of the council meeting. “We would have passed several dozen vehicles on Davenport Street, which is the only way for us to access the rest of the city, we probably would have passed a couple of semi trucks … and a little less than half the way would have been without the benefit of a sidewalk. We would have been sharing the road with those vehicles.”
Meyer is asking for a sidewalk on West Davenport Street. He said for his family, his neighbors and the community as a whole, adding a sidewalk is more than a safety issue.
“Sidewalks and walkability make cities and communities much more attractive as places to live and places to raise a family.”
Davenport Street, from Hwy 47 to Crescent Street, however, is currently in Crescent township, which leads to Meyer’s second request. He wants the city to annex that portion of Davenport.
“And here’s the good news,” Meyer said. “You’re not going to get pushback from Crescent, most likely.”
He added that Crescent Town Chair Joel Knutson is in full support of such an annexation and creation of a sidewalk, as is the Oneida County Biking and Walking Trails Council and the Early Childhood Academy located on Davenport Street. His intention for speaking at the meeting was to plant a seed and give alderpersons something to think about.
“I’m early on in seeking to gather support for this effort,” Meyer said after the meeting. “I think it is something that would be a benefit to my neighbors, those with families, those without families and frankly, for the community as a whole.”
Meyer has created a Facebook page, Davenport Street Sidewalk Project, to provide more information.