Dispute over sidewalk in Kiryas Joel turns uglyPosted: Updated:
Some Kiryas Joel residents are voicing their outrage over what they consider to be an anti-Semitic attack by Orange County officials.
According to a Kiryas Joel resident, the chief deputy sheriff said that Jewish people are only guests in Orange County.
The comment was allegedly made after tensions erupted between townspeople and county officials over an unauthorized sidewalk that had been built by residents out of concern for pedestrian safety during the Sukkot holiday.
Without the sidewalk, residents say they need to step over a guardrail and walk down a narrow, steep path along the road. But county officials ruled that the makeshift sidewalk was not safe and shut down Route 44.
?If I allowed a vehicle on this road right now and it hit that guardrail and someone's on that sidewalk, it would put them in jeopardy and may even kill them,? says Orange County Executive Ed Diana. ?And that's never going to happen as long as I'm county executive.?
Residents, however, say that walking on the road is just as dangerous and closing the highway creates a safety hazard for local EMS.
The county plans to dismantle the sidewalk by Monday in order to reopen the road and avoid steep fines. Diana says he wants to work with the local community to resolve pedestrian safety issues.
For interviews about the removal of illegal wooden walkways from Route 44, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Channel 612.