Sidewalk Showdown: Merlin Residents Disagree About Additions

Crews were supposed to begin construction for sidewalks in downtown Merlin earlier this month. NewsWatch 12's Eliana Sheriff finds out why project is on hold and why some say they don't believe it will improve their town.

Posted: Apr 24, 2018 11:14 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2018 11:21 PM

MERLIN, Ore.-- A sidewalk project in Merlin is currently being pushed to the side.
Crews were supposed to begin construction in downtown Merlin earlier this month.

NewsWatch 12's Eliana Sheriff finds out why project is on hold and why some say they don't believe it will improve their town.

David Whalon says, "Give us money to use somewhere better than a sidewalk."

The plan to add sidewalks to downtown Merlin has many talking.
Walk up to residents, and you will find they are split on the idea.

James Jessee says, "There's nowhere to walk but the road.”

David Whalon says, “You need lights, it is more cost effective to use lighting here to safety it than it is a sidewalk."

Eliana Sheriff says, “And this is where people are split on the issue, for pedestrians it isn't very safe, but this is where the sidewalk would have to be, eliminating some of that parking."

The Josephine County Public Works Director says daily motorist counts on Merlin Road have climbed to around 10,000 in the busy tourism season.

That is why some want to improve sidewalks and add bike lanes.

Others say the county should be more concerned about adding parking.

Roger says, "I don't think it's a very good idea, this is a resort town, and this time of year there's not a lot of traffic from vacationers, but that river entices people to come here, and come summer, there will be no places to park if we put those sidewalks in."

Last month, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners tabled the approval of the project.

This was after several people voiced their concerns with the almost 700-thousand-dollar project, which does not come out of the local tax payers pocket.

Commissioners will be re-visiting the sidewalk project next Wednesday.

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