Teen’s death prompts petition for sidewalks in Wheatfield

TOWN OF WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two years ago 16-year-old Ryan Fischer was walking along Krueger Road in Wheatfield with his girlfriend when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver. His house was only yards away from the accident.

Ryan’s step mother, Kelly Dueger and a neighbor are pushing to get sidewalks on their street.

“I do believe if there was a sidewalk he would still be with us here today,” said Dueger.

Both women went door to door, talking to residents everyday for three weeks until they got 662 signatures.

“When we were visiting all these people, it was unbelievable the stories about their children, how the kids want to go to 7-Eleven or just go to their neighboring areas to see friends and they’re not allowed or parents have to drive them because they do not want them on our road,” said Deborah Fadel, neighbor.

Dueger told News 4 the town board hasn’t been very supportive of the petition. She says they’re afraid other people in the community will want sidewalks too.

“Our town supervisor has repeatedly mentioned that he is concerned that if we get a sidewalk everyone is going to want a sidewalk. We as a community chose them elected them, we pay them to take care of us,” said Dueger.

The town board ultimately accepted the request for a state grant that could pick up 80 percent of the cost. Building the sidewalk could cost up to $925,000.

The sidewalk would be built on one side of the road for a mile long.

Dueger and Fadel are looking for other options in the meantime, to fund the remaining 20 percent that the grant won’t cover.

“Obviously for us it’s very personal. I would like to prevent any further tragedies. What does a life cost? It’s just not worth the risk, money means nothing when it comes to somebody’s life,” said Dueger.

Town leaders will know if the grant is approved as early as Spring 2017.

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