WALWORTH — Most conversations about the DOT’s plans for Highway 14 include the school and village boards.
The school board has circulated petitions, written letters to elected officials and considered hiring a lobbyist to persuade the DOT to keep the highway away from the school.
The village board has agreed to the DOT’s plan, though the board voted at least once that the preferred option was to have the highway bypass the village.
There are more than those two voices in the fight, though.
Melonie Blazier, a clerk at the Citgo gas station on Main Street in Walworth, said the DOT’s plan to route the highway closer to the school has pros and cons.
“I understand that it is going to be close to the schoolhouse,” she said in a phone interview Oct. 28. “If the highway bypasses Walworth, every small business here, which is the majority of the town, will go belly up.”
Blazier’s daughter currently attends Walworth Elementary School, whose administration has fought against proposed changes to the highway since 2009.
“I own a home right down the road, and my daughter has been going to that school since she was 3 years old,” she said. “I do have concerns about it being close to the school, but I am also concerned about the business owners and the community going belly up.”
Blazier said she worries about her own job if through-traffic was routed around the village on a highway bypass.
“If they bypass us, we’re going to be a dead town,” she said.
The owner of the Citgo station was not available for comment.
Mohan Singh, who owns the BP station next to the Citgo on Main Street, is worried, too.
“We will see reduced customers if the proposed change occurs,” he said.
The plan creates a dead end street at the current intersection of Kenosha and Main streets.
Singh said his gas station attracts customers from both highways 67 and 14 right now.
“With the change, with that dead end, we will only get customers from one of the highways,” he said. “The intersection will also be farther away from the business, reducing customer traffic.”
When the Regional News attempted to call Sammy’s restaurant, owners refused to comment. One of the proposed DOT plans would have eliminated angle parking in front of Sammy’s restaurant and reduced other parking available around the square to widen the turn lanes.
To see photos of previously proposed highway plans through the village of Walworth and the approved plan, see this story online at www.lakegenevanews.net under Geneva Lake West.