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Sidewalk will stay despite homeowners' removal request

John and Lucy Andrie don't want a sidewalk in front of their home on the 500 block of Third Street Southeast, but they'll get one after the Wadena City Council voted to reinstall the walkway, which was damaged by a contractor last year.

"It's pretty well busted up and on a slant," Lucy told the city council when she and John appeared May 12 to request the remains of the walkway be removed instead of replaced.

The Andries said they live in an area where few people actually use the sidewalk, opting instead for the street. Also, Lucy said there's a sidewalk across the street if pedestrians choose to use one.

"I'm a big sidewalk supporter," councilman Don Niles told the Andries. "I think it adds value to the overall community. If anything, I'd like to see more sidewalks in the community."

Niles offered a motion to deny the Andries' request to vacate the sidewalk, which would in effect be a move to support replacing the sidewalk. The motion failed on a vote of 3-2 with Toby Pierce, Jeanette Baymler and Wayne Wolden voting against it.

A brief rules dicussion was held, trying to determine what the effect of a failed vote to deny a vacation would really mean. While the council believed its action would mean the status quo -- a plan to fix the sidewalk -- would be maintained, it opted for a more direct route.

Wolden made a motion to have the sidewalk replaced and repaired, with the city negotiating with the contractor to cover a greater portion of the cost, reducing the Andries' burden. That motion carried 4-1, with Baymler voting against.