By Lindsay Carey
The Town Council is considering making it the responsibility of home owners and property owners to clear school access walks, sidewalks that were created for children walking to school.
The plan is evaluate the condition of the sidewalks, repair them of any current damages and then turn them over to those that own property along the walks. The project is being carried out under the advisement of Town Engineer Keith Hayden.
Residents from streets with these sidewalks came to Monday’s Town Council meeting to share concerns about taking over the sidewalks during the winter.
Jerry Forrest, a resident of Frost Street, said she wanted the town to continue to maintain the school access walks as homeowners are already paying taxes.
“We have given the town more than enough money to maintain your access walk that you bought in 1970,” said Forrest.
She said that when this school access walks were built, homeowners were told that the sidewalks would be maintained by the town, as long as school is in session.
Forrest said that she believed it to be unfair for the town to now make it the responsibility of home owners, many of whom she said are senior citizens.
“We have an access walk, you own it. We shouldn’t have to maintain it. We’re all senior citizens,” said Forrest.
Many Frost Street residents, where the project is slated to begin, voiced specific concerns over drainage.
Roger Nogueira said that his son uses the school access walks every morning to get the bus. However, Nogueira said he felt it to be too burdensome for the town to make it the responsibility of homeowners to clear the sidewalks.
He pointed out some issues with drainage, which he has been trying to remedy himself. Nogueira said that if he does not clean out the sewers near his home before a snowstorm he can expect to wake up to a sheet of ice on the sidewalks.
“I get up at 5:30 in the morning to leave for work to do my electrical job, I don’t have time in the morning to clean it,” said Nogueira, in opposition of the sidewalks being turned over.
Several more residents informed the council about drainage issues, which Town Manager Garry Brumback said would be repaired before the side walks were turned back over. Hayden said that he would not mind going door to door to connect with residents of Frost Street to specifically look at their drainage.
The Town Council would table the project following resident’s concerns. The Town Council will now gather more information before deciding whether to proceed.
“I’m concerned that the town is moving forward with a contract without really knowing all the information,” said Town Councilor John Barry.
By Lindsay Carey