By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – The status of the Grafton Roads Project was reviewed at the June 7 Grafton Board of Selectmen’s meeting. Presenting were members of the Department of Public Works (DPW) Advisory Committee.
At the spring Town Meeting held May 9 voters approved a total of $1,513,375 for road repairs. The project includes Valley View Drive, Adams Road, Carroll Road, Institute Road, Merriam Road, Sibley Street, Waterville Street, Wesson Road and Westboro Road. The project is to be paid for by $1.5 million from Chapter 90 plus $500,000 from the Stabilization Fund. There was little disagreement with this article handily passing at Town Meeting.
The Board of Selectmen has been working to add/improve sidewalks in town, and at the June 7 meeting they asked the DPW Advisory Committee how sidewalk work could be done in conjunction with road repair.
“People keep asking me when we are going to get sidewalks,” noted Selectman Sargon Hanna. “All I want to know to start is how much it will cost to put a sidewalk on Carroll Road. We need to have that.”
Selectman Bruce Spinney said that he was putting out feelers regarding building sidewalks.
“I don’t want to tap into highway money – the $1.5 million,” he said. “But Town Meeting didn’t limit this money to just roads.”
He reminded those present that they had sold the override on the back of a 20-year project to do roads.
“I realize that to also do sidewalks we need to find more money,” Selectman Chair Jennifer Thomas agreed.
Board members also agreed that some town roads should not have sidewalks so as to not change the town character. The five-year plan should incorporate sidewalk work, maintained the DPW committee.
“All we hear from DPW is why we can’t do sidewalks,” noted Selectman Craig Dauphinais. “We want to make Grafton safe, which includes sidewalks.”
He explained that the board needs to consider where the town will be in 20 years.
“Instead of 10 roads maybe we do eight or nine and include some sidewalks,” he stated.
The conversation then moved to estimating the cost of sidewalk work. Hanna asked what the cost would be to repair roads or both repair a road and build a sidewalk. He added that the town Planning Department should be able to recommend whether a sidewalk should be built or not on a particular street. Dauphinais suggested that the town generate a sidewalk plan to accompany road repair work.
“Some roads now are almost impassable,” he asserted.
DPW committee members noted that sidewalk construction is different from road repair and issues of property street-front boundaries are likely to be a problem, especially where older property deeds are vague on frontage boundaries.
The board concluded by voting to continue this discussion at a later date.