The Cloquet City Council approved bids for the reconstruction of Prospect Avenue, but voted against building a sidewalk on the south side of the street during its meeting Tuesday, April 21.
The sidewalk became a contentious issue for the council during a public hearing March 5. Several people whose homes are on Prospect Avenue spoke out against the project, saying there wasn’t enough pedestrian traffic to warrant a sidewalk and the construction would cause some to lose a small portion of their yard.
Ward 2 Councilor Sheila Lamb — who represents that portion of the city — claimed she had heard from many more residents since the hearing and none favored the installation of the sidewalk.
At the March 5 hearing, several residents of neighboring wards advocated for the sidewalk. In addition, the street is part of Carlton County’s “Safe Routes to School Program,” which recommended the sidewalk be built. The Arrowhead Regional Development Corporation, Cloquet Public Schools and Cloquet Area Fire District all sent letters to the council advocating for the sidewalk.
Ward 3 Councilor Chris Swanson and At-Large Councilor Lara Wilkinson both voted in favor of including the sidewalk in the project, but Ward 1 Councilor Warren “Bun” Carlson, Ward 4 Councilor Kerry Kolodge, Ward 5 Councilor Steve Langley and Mayor Roger Maki joined Lamb in rejecting it.