Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
May 15, 2015 12:15 p.m.

Sidewalk to no where improved
The now signed agreement with CSX will allow the “sidewalk to nowhere” in front of Salty Pelican to extend to Centre Street.

On May 13, 2015, CSX finally signed an agreement allowing the city to proceed to build a sidewalk between the railroad tracks and buildings east of the tracks.  Despite the December 2014 settlement of a legal dispute over private property rights and a verbal okay from the railroad, the city had been unsuccessful until now in procuring a written agreement from CSX allowing them to connect the publicly christened “sidewalk to nowhere” in front of the Salty Pelican restaurant to Centre Street.

The absence of a public sidewalk has created safety issues for both pedestrians and trains, and even brought in federal authorities to investigate ADA concerns.

City Manager Joe Gerrity said, “I believe the work will start next week. I don’t know the cost of the project but it is included in the 14-15 budget.”

The full text of the final exchange between the city and CSX appears below.

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Ben Lloyd
Ben Lloyd (@guest_35224)
7 years ago

Thanks, Joe Gerrity! Glad to see this project moving forward.

Steve Crounse
Steve Crounse (@guest_35227)
7 years ago

Nice to see this issue finally resolved. This has been a Safety Issue and an Eye Sore. Thanks for the follow up. Joe, hang in there.

T Shafer
T Shafer (@guest_35228)
7 years ago

Miraculously, when Gerrity’s been put on notice. Coincidence?

mikespino
mikespino (@guest_35234)
7 years ago

Only in Fernandina do our public servants get chastised for doing their jobs. If it was easy we could give it to the private sector.

T Shafer
T Shafer (@guest_35242)
7 years ago
Reply to  mikespino

Efficiency and expediency are as important as the end result. Nothing like the threat of a firing to light a fire.

mikespino
mikespino (@guest_35323)
7 years ago
Reply to  T Shafer

The final hold up was CSX. Just because you see a conspiracy in every move doesn’t mean there is one. To suggest that Joe responded because of a threat ignores the facts.

Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger(@peggy-bulger1949gmail-com)
7 years ago

This has been a very long time in coming . . . I thank the citizens who first complained and proposed the change, as well as those who have continued to bring this issue up at Commission meetings. If not for them, I truly believe that the sidewalk would never have been a reality.

jane bailey
jane bailey (@guest_35245)
7 years ago

Thanks also to Tony Crawford!

Marlene Chapman
Marlene Chapman (@guest_35247)
7 years ago

Mr Gerrity was asked to get this done 2 years ago! While the courts took a while, that part was settled last December….where has Mr Gerrity been since then? It’s funny how when your job is on the line, you stop the slow thinking and get moving! My thanks go to those private citizens who fought and never gave up, even when told to keep away from talking to CSX!! Thank you also to Johnny Miller who became a strong and persistent advocate for this sidewalk! The “Sidewalk to Nowhere” now leads everyone to the Salty Pelican:) Let the parade begin!!

Ross Gass
Ross Gass (@guest_35251)
7 years ago

Sorry City Manager Gerrity, since this took longer than people wanted, and you told them to be patient when they didn’t want to, you deserve no credit. We’ll even throw in a little conspiracy theory that you were holding this up on purpose for free! Seems like our little slice of heaven can’t happy even when they get what they want.

Marlene Chapman
Marlene Chapman (@guest_35253)
7 years ago

The bottom line…this went on for months even after the court case was settled. Mr Gerrity is called on the mat for lack of “getting things done” now, it’s done! No conspiracy theory, just facts! Onward to the Pelican safe and sound:)

Andrew Curtin
Andrew Curtin(@bkdriverajcgmail-com)
7 years ago

Mr.Gerrity and Ms.Bach:
Thanks for your persistence in dealing with not one but two, railroad bureaucracies.

Chett Lyncker
Chett Lyncker (@guest_35276)
7 years ago

It’s a miracle! Finally after being called out, things are moving just before the next meeting!! But the ethics or lack there of have not been addressed!

It’s interesting how the post regime supporters are the loudest on the Internet, but the citizens clearly chose on Election Day!

And P.S. RG, I’ll save a spot next to me at the meeting for you!!

Kent Piatt
Kent Piatt (@guest_35300)
7 years ago

“I believe the project will start next week. I don’t know the cost…” After all the agita, he still doesn’t have a schedule and budget? That’s where most “projects” start.

mikespino
mikespino (@guest_35324)
7 years ago
Reply to  Kent Piatt

Since the city maintenance department is doing the work I’m not too worried about a budget. It’s the kind of work they do all the time.

tony crawford
tony crawford (@guest_35335)
7 years ago

Mike, politics aside, this is a good thing to have finally come to a conclusion. Everyone can decide for themselves about the political end of it. It’s going to get done and we should all be happy for that. The cost question and the fact it is kind of the work the City does, may not be accurate. It is my guess, and only a guess, that much of this work will be sub-contracted out. It is not just putting a sidewalk down. The old sidewalk/ concrete has to be ripped up, the area has to be graded to specks, a barrier has to be placed along the tracks, new concrete has to be poured, and landscaping has to be done. I am sure the City will oversee this whole operation, but it is my thought much of it will be subbed out. This will all cost money, taxpayer money. It’s a good thing and it is going to good use, but the fact is the project will still have a price tag to it. Even if the City workers do it there will be a cost for material as well as labor. Remember the deck by the welcome center is running about $47,000 and that is just a deck. The City has carpenters that could have constructed it, but we subbed it out. Hopefully the reason was that in the long run it was more cost effective to hire a contractor to do it rather than do it in house. I going to stick my neck out and say this sidewalk will run $100,000 or more. Just a guess mind you. If anyone has any cost information they would like to share I think we all would like to hear it. This will be money well spent at the end of the day.

mikespino
mikespino (@guest_35611)
7 years ago
Reply to  tony crawford

City started the sidewalk today. Moving right along.

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