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Graham Road West

If there is one thing that Mayor Donald Hartill is proud of, it's the Village of Lansing Roads.  He loves to say that there are no potholes on Village Streets, and technically that is accurate.  But a little tiny piece of road that the Village doesn't own is a constant irritant.  Graham Road West is the northernmost of the three mall entrance roads that connects Triphammer Road with the mall's ring road.  The Ithaca Y is located on Graham Road West, and it leads to the portion of the ring road that is the most direct entrance to Target and BJ's Wholesale Club.  After many frustrating years of trying to negotiate the Village's acquisition of the road, Hartill said Monday he is almost ready to simply take it over.

"It is the one road in the Village that everybody uses that is full of problems.  When I say the Village has no potholes, somebody always says 'but...'," he laments. "I may, for the first time ever, exercise eminent domain.  I don't want to do that, but it's a possibility."

Trustee John O'Neill said he is worried about the safety of the road, which only has a partial sidewalk and is very poorly maintained.  For villagers who walk to the mall it poses a hazard, because there is no connecting sidewalk between the Village sidewalk on Triphammer Road and a sidewalk that begins near the Y.

"There's nothing on the north side until you get back to the mall," Hartill said. "The best solution is to normalize where people are actually walking on the pavement and the grass.  There is a sidewalk past the Y. What is lacking is a path from our sidewalk on Triphammer Road down to that other sidewalk, and a crosswalk."

O'Neill worried that it would be at least two or three more years before anything is done.  But Hartill insisted that the road will be fixed sooner than that, saying he was going to try to have one more "very serious" conversation with the new mall owners before initiating eminent domain.

Hartill has tried to obtain the road for many years.  Before the mall was sold, after years of trying, he said he had almost negotiated a land swap in which the mall would get a small patch of Village land at the south mall entrance in return for giving the road to the Village.  In 2017 he said he was very close to obtaining the road.  But the sale of the mall to out of town owners reset the negotiation, if you can call it that, because Hartill complains the new owners have not been responsive, and the local mall representatives have no authority to decide on the fate of the road.

"If nothing comes out of the owners, you can't negotiate anything if one side's not talking," said Deputy Mayor Ronny Hardaway.

Private roads must be repaired and maintained by their owners, including snow plowing.  By dedicating the road to the Village that expense would be eliminated for the mall owners, and taken on by the Village.

"I am trying to say turn over the road to the Village, and we will put a sidewalk in and fix the road," Hartill said. "It should be a no-brainer, but for whatever reason they're not responding."

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