The Town Council voted eight to two at its meeting Monday night to support the construction of
The council actually had three options before it concerning this issue, which has been before them in one form or another since 2008, as noted by vice chair Stephen Karl, and was the . Those options were whether or not to support the inclusion of the new sidewalks as part of the town's bonded road repair, and if so, whether those sidewalks should be installed on the west or east side of Main Street.
Tiger Mann, Assistant Director of Public Works, presented the bids submitted by contractors. As requested previously by the council, those bids included costs for both a west and east side option.
When changes in the final design indicated that the east side option would not be more cost effective, the west side option prevailed with the council.
Audience members who spoke in support of sidewalks stressed issues of safety. Supporters of the west side option said it would be a natural extension of existing sidewalks, "Where's the most logical place? I believe it's the west side," said Marc Magliacano.
Those opposing new sidewalks on either side of the street said they saw this as a need, not a want. The opponents concerns were financial and for some, more personal. Karen Mackle of Woodland Road, said she foresaw the risk of property devaluation.
Echoing the comments of other board members voting in support, Kit Devereaux said she had vacillated on where they should go. "If price had been a significant difference, I would have been an east side person," she said. But given what she said was the safety, utility and logic of the alternative, she voted for the west side option.
Speaking in dissent, member Paul Foley said, "My concerns are still financial concerns." Citing the incremental cost of the new sidewalks, which is estimated to be approximately $285,000 to $352,000 based on the three lowest bidders, he said, "I'm concerned about 20,000 people versus a few hundred people."
The Board of Selectmen will make the decision on awarding the project, which Mann said he expects will could begin in mid-March of next year and be completed by June.