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A Victory: Sidewalks Advance

A Victory: Sidewalks Advance

Lukens Center self-advocates were in all their glory at Orangetown Town Hall on the evening of September 9, as town officials announced the sidewalk project for Rt 340 had received approval and that construction would begin as early as the Spring of 2014.

For Esta and J.Pat, this day marked yet another milestone in an odyssey that has gone on for years. It was early in 2006 or so when these two intrepid advocates brought the issue of pedestrian safety on the street where they live on Rt 340 in Orangeburg/Sparkill to the halls of power.  Attending nearly ever Town board meeting for years, speaking up and pushing this issue, they were not going to let the safety of their fellow residents at the Kathleen Lukens Independent Living Center Apartment House or the students of St. Thomas Aquinas College, Long Island University, much less the seniors of Thorpe Village who live along this well-traveled county road, to go unheeded.

Though sidewalks on 340 were completed from the Venture property east to Hickey Street several years ago, the more important leg, from the Venture property west to Rt. 303 has remained undone. Building the sidewalks required that the town get grants and then pay for easements to cross the properties along Rt 340. This meeting involved the final approval for the agreed easements and the go ahead to develop the final plans. Easements across the Venture/Long Island University property and the St. Thomas Aquinas property were gifted to the town.

“The people of the Town of Orangetown owe a debt of gratitude to the Town for all the hard work that has gone into this project but also to Esta and J. Pat for their efforts and for their vision,” explains Dan Lukens, Camp Venture’s Executive Director. “They saw a need in their community and then they did the hard work of keeping after it to get it done. There’s a lesson there for all of us.”

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