For the family of 16-year-old Ryan Fischer, who was hit and killed on Krueger Road in Wheatfield in 2014, only positive change can heal a broken heart.
“Someone else shouldn’t have to get hurt to light the fire under them to do what’s right.”
Kelly Dueger, Fischer’s step-mother, has been pushing for sidewalks on Krueger Road even since Fischer was killed.
On Monday, the town board voted against that proposal, which would use more than $700,000 from a state grant to fund 80-percent of the project.
“I feel like I’ve wasted months and months of my life doing what they asked me to do, only for them to decline it,” said Dueger.
Instead, the board opted to use the grant, intended for sidewalks, toward widening the shoulder. It’s something Dueger says the board has gone back and forth on.
“Initially, we did ask for the shoulders and we were told that was too expensive,” said Dueger.
The board heard from dozens of residents, both for and against the sidewalk project.
“This is the Town of Wheatfield, if you want sidewalks, you should move to the city,” said a resident.
“Once a child has died on your street and you pass his shrine every single day, you must ask yourself, is it still safe,” asked another resident.
Ultimately, board members say the majority of Wheatfield residents don’t want sidewalks on Krueger Road.
It’s a defeat for the family of Ryan Fischer, who was hoping the sidewalks would bring some closure and safety to the neighborhood.
“We’re starting over, after everything that they have put us through, we’re back to square one,” said Dueger.
Wheatfield Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe was the only member of the board in favor of the sidewalks. He’s hopeful the grant can be used to widen the shoulder on Krueger Road.
The next step is working with the DOT.