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During a public hearing this week to seek input from residents on projects that the Town of Wales could submit to get Community Development Block Grant funding, Susan Everett, representing the citizens committee known as “A Walk In the Park,” asked if the proposed walking trail around the park would be eligible for funding as the grass on the park could be considered a barrier to senior citizens and handicapped people due to the uneven ground.

Paul D’Orlando, a senior contract monitor for the program, said “It is unlikely this would be considered a barrier.”

D’Orlando said HUD has audited the program that accepts projects for three years in a row for just this type of project. Actual pavement doesn’t qualify.

Everett said the citizen’s committee has fulfilled its part of the project. “We have researched preliminary costs, contacted the Department Environmental Conservation regarding clearing brush and trees obscuring the view of Buffalo Creek and have some petitions signed. We are turning it over to Councilwoman Jude A. Hartrich. It is now up to the board,” she said.

Hartrich then began passing out copies to the board with two price quotations from town contractors and said the committee has worked hard to put ideas together to get funding for it.

She said one quote is for a plowed trail that would allow it to be open year-round and one is for an unplowed trail, which is seasonal.

She said the quotes include the town doing labor, blacktop and digging. Although no amounts were released, Hartrich said the two contractors were Michael Lima and Blackstone.

Councilman Michael Simon replied that the walking trail “was a waste of taxpayers’ money. I don’t think we should build this when we have a need for other projects. It is unfair to the people of South Wales.”

“Residents can use Kenneglen to walk in. It is not a good project,” he said.

He said he wanted it tabled. When asked why, he replied: “Until we have a firm plan, with committed numbers, project costs, upkeep and insurance.”

Everett agreed and disagreed with Simon pointing out that “We should have some funds dedicated to this project. When we see what the costs of the project are, we should compare it versus other projects.”

Regarding the South Wales residents, Everett said “They would have access for them to enjoy the picnic tables and shelter in the park as well as the walkway.”