City, homeowner at odds over path’s use
City workers are giving a neighborhood trail a face-lift, but not without protest from the trail’s nearest neighbor.
Nearly a 100-foot stretch of sidewalk path, built at least 20 years ago, connects Grand Junction’s Lakeside apartment area with Capra Way, a stately neighborhood on generous lots north of Patterson Road. The path is mostly placed on a city-owned easement that passes by a man-made lake, but the end of each side of the path nearly funnels pedestrians onto driveways on both ends.
Audrey Marso, 2674 Capra Way, was tired of people walking on her driveway to exit the path and has placed signs indicating the driveway is private property. She fears easier public access will draw more people to the area, putting her younger children in harm’s way to be exposed to potentially dangerous strangers.
“I question people outside if they are strange and gawking, ‘Who are you?’ Isn’t that what everyone should do? I try to look out for people,” she said.
Code enforcement has been called to the area several times, beginning in December 2008, a couple months after the family moved in, to address complaints that the path was being blocked off and Marso was yelling at people, Grand Junction city spokeswoman Sam Rainguet said.
Since that time, 132 residents in both neighborhoods have signed a petition to request that the path remain open. In an effort to redirect the path, city workers this week started the process of clearing the area in an attempt to construct a crushed granite path. A fence with slats will be placed as a buffer between Marso’s property and the path, a barrier that should more correctly reflect true property rights. The project will cost between $5,000 and $7,000 and is slated for completion July 9.
Marso said she never physically blocked the path, but she does regularly place a rope across her driveway to discourage use. She said she once yelled at a woman who kicked Marso’s dog and yelled at one of her children. Marso questions why the city is spending taxpayer dollars to make the fix for a neighborhood trail that gets little use. A better fix, she said, would be to direct the path’s end away from her driveway onto a grassy area, a move that would cost much less. Regardless, Marso said, an improved pathway equates to more strangers passing her home, a prospect that doesn’t sit well with her.
She said she will put her house up for sale.
Rainguet said city planners and staff have gone back and forth on the issue, attempting to remedy the situation. The project did not go to a vote of Grand Junction City Council members or Planning Commission members because the price tag is relatively inexpensive, Rainguet said.
The original path was placed in the area by the former owner of Marso’s home. Over the years, people became accustomed to using it to walk through neighborhoods that are hemmed in by the busy streets of Patterson Road and Horizon Drive.
“This is just one of those kinds of things we wanted to do to rectify the situation and make this better,” Rainguet said. “It’s taken a lot of resources and staff. It probably shouldn’t have gotten to this point.”