East Beach Battle Brewing

People who live near East Beach say the only place they have to walk, jog or ride their bikes is right in the street along the beach. The residents say they need a walkway to get them out of traffic.

"I walk the beach everyday with my children. The cars fly by," Patti Butirich said. "I've literally had to pull my children out of the path of cars, so I'm totally for it."

"We've got over 40 kids just in this neighborhood, and they're always coming down to the beach especially in the summer, and I certainly fear any accidents that could happen," George Conwill said.

Aldermen Joe Carvin and Danny Jalanivich say extending the walkway by a mile with a flat surface instead of a slanted one will make the beach safer and easier to walk on.

"Instead of going to the walking track, they like this out here, and it's a safety issue to put them on the south side of the seawall and get the out of the street, and really it's a safety issue and we need to do it," Jalanivich said.

Attorney Alwyn Luckey lives on East Beach. He's not sure a walkway is a smart investment when he says the city needs other things. He says there's a bigger issue too, a walkway could infringe on homeowners whom he says have claim to the beach.

"Most people were deeded the beach, and I realize that the county and the state now claim those but it's been an on-going dispute that's never really risen to a point to be decided because everyone has just sort of agreed to get along. It could easily end up in court," Luckey said.

Carvin says to take care of any parking problems that the new improved walkway could create, the city could pass ordinances banning parking on the north side of the beach, and there is parking available on the west end of the beach.

Carvin says there is also a proposed parking space on the east end.