Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Winchester sidewalks to make downtown safer

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 12:00 pm
WINCHESTER — It took decades, but residents will soon have a safer way to walk between their homes and businesses in the downtown area.
After three years of preparing and planning, and decades of discussion, town officials plan to start construction of a new sidewalk from Kulick’s shopping center on Warwick Road (Route 78) north to Main Street (Route 10) next month. Town officials are shooting for a Sept. 30 start date for the project, Land Use Administrator Margaret A. Sharra said Monday.
Town officials expect the project to be done by the beginning of November, she said.
“I think we’re finally going to get there. I’ll be happy when a shovel breaks the ground,” she said.
For several years, town officials have been looking to install about a mile-long sidewalk from the shopping center to Main Street.
Discussions about the project date back to the 1980s when it was first talked about by the town’s economic development committee, Sharra said. It was again discussed in the 1990s and 2000s, she said.
There are hundreds of people who walk from Main Street to the shopping plaza, which has a number of businesses including a market, bank, hair salon and hardware store, she said. It’s “extremely unsafe” with no sidewalk, she said.
“It’s very important we’re finally going to be able to give residents safe access to the services they need,” she said.
It will also make it safer for children walking to school, Town Administrator Shelly Walker said.
The new asphalt sidewalk will follow the eastern side of Route 10 and cross Mirey Brook on the existing bridge deck, Sharra said. After going over the brook, the sidewalk will cross the road to the western side of Main Street and continue along the Ashuelot River to meet the existing sidewalk, she said.
The project is expected to cost $371,000, with 80 percent of the tab being picked up by a federal Transportation Enhancement Grant, awarded to the town in March 2010. The town is responsible for covering the remaining 20 percent, which is $74,200.
One of the reasons it’s taken so long to start construction is that town officials have had to navigate through several mandates tied to the grant, Sharra said.
For example, any change to the project has to get the OK from state and federal highway agencies, which can complicate things and draw out the process, she said.
Town officials plan to begin soliciting bids for the project next week, Sharra said.

"Hundreds of people"  walking around downtown?  When???
"Safer for school children walking to school" ??  How many kids live in that area of the business district?

$371,000 .. With no bids yet, just how did the Town come up with that figure??

For that kind of money the town could afford some nice concrete sidewalks and granite curbs like they just put in along Route#101 in Dublin .. Of course things like that don't happen in Winchester.

So why does the town have to sub this work out? Can't the Highway Dept. with a budget close to half a million dollars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, grade and lay down some ugly asphalt  sidewalks like they do in other towns? Why does every project in the town have to be subbed out? Exactly what does our highway crew  do all day for the money they get paid? Anybody got any answers?


Anonymous said...

Glad there will be sidewalks. No need to be so negative all the time. There are tons of families walking, kids being pushed in strollers and kids riding bikes all the time. There are so many walkers from the school. Some as little as 7 years old. I also see tons of people walking and riding bikes on 119, which is not safe. People fly down that road in their cars.

Anonymous said...

It will mostly be a walkway for the towns freeloaders, but we have a few people in those electric chairs that it will help and I think it will look good, check out Northfield. No doubt it will increase the value of the properties on south main, will there taxes increase accordingly?

Anonymous said...

I agree that a sidewalk is needed and adds to our towns infrastructure. Its just sad it will be as ugly as the new one on Richmond rd. and will not last long (thin layer of asphalt)
Concrete should be installed but Winchester loves being cheap and ugly, maybe the fault of everyone screaming about expenditures?
But the Informer brings out a great point with why cant our own road crew install this? If we weren't paying a contractor with a profit margin we might be able to afford concrete with granite curbs.

Over all this is needed and about time it happened I just wish we would do it right the first time.

Concerned said...

More ugly black ribbons of asphalt to make the town look even cheaper, and on our Main St. Disgusting. Who makes these decisions?

Anonymous said...

These sidewalk grants started back n the 90s in the MacQuarrie years. Plenty of screw-ups, unintelligible grant applications, political posturing and they finally ended up in Maggie's hands.

Anonymous said...

I am strongly for some sort of walk way for that bridge. There is not enough room for pedestrians and traffic, especially the way some people drive in this town.
I don't think a big sidewalk instillation is necessary. I drive down that road many times each day and would dispute that hundreds are walking alongside it. The only person I see all the time is the older guy with the big mustache who is always scratching lottery tickets.

The sidewalks in Northfield were the result of a federal stimulus program.

Kevin on Swan Street.

Kristy said...

I live near the intersection where the sidewalks will go and I am glad for the opportunity to walk from my house to the library, school and community center w/out worrying I might be hit. I do see quite a few people walking to the shopping center and many of those are pushing children in strollers. My guess is that with Mr. G's gone there will be more people who will need to walk to Kulicks for food. However, I don't relish the idea that my property taxes will skyrocket as a result.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting there is one property that wont get any tax increase because of a new sidewalk. Like a former poster said "the town hall takes care of is own."

Anonymous said...

Hey! August 16 6:50 poster, Hope your not talking about our friend Beaver Dam Gus Ruth with his $40,000.00 abatement the other selectmen and himself approved in the back room in a none public session are you? or the abatement Roberta received or the Sherminator or The Beaman's or other F.O.G.s (Friends of Gus)

if she don't pay why should I ? said...

speaking of Sharra, how come she don't pay her taxes? she surely makes enough off of us, how come she gets to slide ?


Anonymous said...

Anonymous @
August 16, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Can you prove this?
Can you get documents about this happening?
If you could do this and post it that would be great and I'm sure something would come of it.
Proof that the selectman are giving each other abatements in closed session would be a smoking gun.
Or is this just more hear say and wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

It is public record on his tax inventory sheet at the town hall. If something is not in the minutes so I surmise it must be off the record (none public hearing). It does not prove anything. If it is not in the public selectmen's minutes then 99% of most dealings are none public aka "the back room"!

Lower voter turn out has it consequences.

Anonymous said...

I wish people would realize making comments with no proof or documentation means nothing at the end of the day.
I was excited about the comment about the select board giving each other tax abatements and felt if this was true it would be the smoking gun!
But as usual it looks like more "assuming" & "hearsay" and basically propaganda that will not help us at all.

If you really want to bring change then bring facts that can be used.

Rumors and hearsay constantly take all credit away from what this site is trying to achieve.

Get the facts, get the documentation before making comments or it is a waste of time and useless.

Anonymous said...

Pretty easy to see what's going on by simply going to the online tax kiosk and looking up someone .. say Gus Ruth for example .. The property out at 50 Rabbit Hollow Road has gone down in value since Ruth and Harvey bought it, how come?
In fact every property that Ruth owns has dropped in value just about every year .. When was the last time yours did?

Anonymous said...

Hey August 19, 2013 at 7:33 AM. FYI……Making comments with no fact is one thing and having proof of copies of public record is another. I have spend many hours researching the town records, making copies at my expense while chasing leads, what did I get out of it, is name calling, false innuendos, slanderous remarks or finger gesture that usually carries a suggestion of impropriety.

So sweet pea trot your buns down to the town hall to get your own facts or shut the “HELL UP”! OK Big mouths like you and everyone else in town who wants everyone else to take the heat for you people. You have no cajones! I have given you people mountains of facts that doesn’t do any good because it goes in one ear out the other, there is nothing in between the ears. Talk about a short attention span, this town suffers from it.

Anonymous said...

Calm the hell down Bob?
Im not trotting anywhere!
My point, if someone wants to make a huge comment as the one that caught my attention then they should back it up with proof or the information is invalid and useless and frankly a waste of our time.
The responsibility should be on the ones making the claims!
I can tell you I think aliens have invaded our selectboard but if I cant prove it, whats the point?

Anonymous said...

Like I said, I do not let my mouth write checks my a$$ can't cash! I DO NOT make claims I have no proof of. When Bob worked at the town hall I received copies of every abatement that goes back for 10 years. PUBLIC RECORD...just ask!

Lesson learned a few years ago I am one of the group of people the Ruth's sent a certified letter stating they were going to file suit against us for slanderous comments. I have never gone to any public meeting, made any public comment or posted on these blog anything that I couldn't back up regardless of what you or others think just-to-shot my mouth off. Just because I am no longer interested in giving up copies just to satisfy your curiosity that doesn't make me stupid or a liar. Talk is cheap. Right!

Anonymous said...

Why Asphalt? The town couldn't support a concrete business? What makes an asphalt sidewalk better than a concrete one? It looks more like a extended shoulder to drivers.

If only our highway department was replaced with Northfield's, we would have a much more competent workforce, better roads and concrete sidewalks.

Anonymous said...

Even though we have a concrete plant in town we don't know if the kick backs are as good as the asphalt companies give.

Anonymous said...

I particularly like the ones on Elm Street that end at the former Gary Chase hoarder's paradise. Just where we want all the kids to end up, right? Talk about bridges to nowhere, this town is full of sidewalks to nowhere.

It's the way we roll said...

Anyone read todays sentinel 8/28, about possible overpayments to the town clerk in Hinsdale. Heck if it happened in Winchester, no one would look into it, and if they did, he or she would be given a gold star.