The new message to Sussex residents: “Tell Village No to Roundabouts.”
It’s plastered on a huge sign in the heart of downtown Sussex. With among Village Board members to discuss the Main Street construction project scheduled for Tuesday, Toots and P.J. Cain are doing everything they can to get residents to show up and oppose roundabouts.
The Cains are the owners of , a second-generation, family owned auto body shop on the corner of Main Street and Maple Avenue. If the village chooses to construct a roundabout on that corner, Paul’s Service could be in line for some real changes.
“We’ll be affected big time because they’re talking about taking in the edge of the road between 8 and 15 feet to construct the roundabout, and it’s not coming from across the street because the cemetery is there,” P.J. said. “From the side of my building to the sidewalk is 29 feet, so if they take 15 feet, we're not going to be able to back cars out of the front of our shop. So basically they're going to put the front of our shop out of business.”
The idea of constructing roundabouts on Main Street has seen , but with their business’ livelihood on the line, the Cains aren’t taking any chances. They printed out the enormous sign and are talking with Sussex residents about their frustrations with the project. Toots has even started a petition at the business, and she claims to have more than 150 signatures.
“We handed them a series of questions... We asked for a list of responses and no one has responded."
However, with , Toots and P.J. are eager to get some of their questions answered regarding roundabouts. With the construction project still in a preliminary stage, Toots says she’s been having trouble getting specific answers from Sussex officials.
“We handed them a series of questions that customers and community members have asked us, and we submitted those question ,” Toots said. “We asked for a list of responses and no one has responded. We gave it to the administrator, we gave it to the village president, and we gave it to two of the trustees and we haven't heard anything.”
But Village Administrator Jeremy Smith says there isn’t anything to even say at this point. He, , says the Village Board hasn’t even begun to discuss the various options for Main Street yet.
Tuesday's meeting will be the first time the group will discuss the multitude of comments from residents and the various design options for the street. With the first discussion yet to happen, Smith says he can’t comment on how the board feels about any specific concepts.
“The official position at this point is that there are still several different concepts, and we're still getting feedback,” said Smith after . “The Village Board, at their May 15 meeting, is going to be hearing all the comments from residents, discussing the concepts and asking questions. From that point, the board will be making decisions and moving forward with developing the project based on those comments.”
“And because everyone hated them so bad, the village president and three of his trustees all got voted out that year, and I'll tell you, people are already talking."
Even with that said, Toots and P.J. say they’re nervous about the possible roundabouts still getting constructed regardless of popular opinion from residents. Toots thinks it’s a “big trust issue” after the village installed the curb bump-outs near the a few years ago.
“Everyone hated them,” said P.J., talking about the bump-outs. “And because everyone hated them so bad, the village president and three of his trustees all got voted out that year, and I'll tell you, people are already talking. If the roundabouts go through, they're going to do the same thing all over again. They'll take the whole works and throw them right in the garbage.”
Sussex is holding its first workshop for the Main Street construction project on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the .
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