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Business owner against sidewalk on his property

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 04:50:36-04

LANSING, Mich. — A longtime business owner in Springport in Jackson County says his township is making him foot the bill for a sidewalk that isn't really needed.

Fred Ludtke says that his business will not benefit from the use of a sidewalk that he's being forced to pay for.

He says it's not fair and he's out of options.

"I just feel there are better places for them to spend their resources considering there are a lot of streets with school children that they're not addressing sidewalks on," said Ludtke.

Springport Elevator sits next to Dollar General, a newer business that needs a sidewalk in front of it, according to city ordinances.

Now, Springport Village officials want to add a sidewalk in front of Fred Ludtke's company to make the store more accessible, and make him pay for it.

"Our business has no walk in trade, there are no houses serviced by this, it would strictly service dollar general," he said.

Ludtke says that according to their ordinance, the village should prioritize putting sidewalks on streets that need them more, instead on the front of his property.

But village president Gordon Webb says they're doing everything they can to make Springport safer and more accessible.

"Down by the school we just added bike lanes, additional sidewalks, moved the crossing in cooperation with the school to make that area a safer place. I think we've got our priorities very well aligned here."

Ludtke says his family has no say in the matter, because they don't live in Springport, but feels they should because they have a business there.

"There’s nothing we can do about it, so this is why I’m here."

They tried to reach out to the township to ask them not to build the sidewalk, but Webb says that wasn't really the case.

"They came to a public hearing when the dollar general was in for its zoning changes...they asked if we had plans for a sidewalk and at that time we said no," said Webb. "At this point in time, that's the only communication we've had. So how do you communicate with someone that won't respond to you?"

Webb adds that his offices have an open door policy and is always willing to discuss concerns, but plans to build the sidewalk for the township.

"We’re looking out for the community, and we're going to make our decision based on the good of all, not the good of one."

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