Chester board hears Church St. sidewalk, traffic concerns

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing, LLC

A representative of Dufresne Group was on hand at the Chester Select Board’s July 24 meeting to conduct a “Local Concerns” hearing regarding a scoping study for some sort of sidewalk or walking path on Church Street to connect Main with North Street, but those attending were more interested in talking about existing traffic conditions.

Christina Haskins of Dufresne Group begins a brief presentation on a study to look at connecting Main and North Streets with a sidewalk along Church Street. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

After Christina Haskins presented a brief PowerPoint presentation she fielded a number of questions about heavy truck traffic, speeding and the use of “jake brakes” in the middle of the night.

Residents suggested moving a radar sign, putting in rumble strips, speed bumps and speed tables, but board chair Arne Jonynas noted that while the scoping study was the topic at hand and that a sidewalk could take years to get put in, traffic enforcement could be done now and asked that Town Manager David Pisha and Police Chief Rick Cloud come back with a plan.

Returning to the topic at hand, residents and walkers suggested benches, lighting, cross walks and some sort of crossing on the bridge at the north end of Church Street.

 

Historical Preservation Committee chair Lillian Willis requests $12,000 for a study needed to apply for a grant for a fire museum in the Yosemite Fire House.

Saying that “we need to do it now,” Lillian Willis, of the Chester Historic Preservation Committee, came before the board to ask for money for a feasibility study to look at turning the Yosemite Fire House into a museum.

Willis told the board the study was needed to complete a state grant application due in October and keep the project on track. “Please find me $12,000 immediately so we can move forward,” said Willis.

Jonynas said he appreciated the urgency, but “on our end, that’s money not in the budget for this year.” Jonynas suggested that Willis, who heads an informal committee to advocate for the historic buildings that belong to the town, come back in December for money in next year’s budget.

Board member Lee Gustafson noted that there are physical issues with the building that need attention. “Set those right before spending money on turning it into a museum,” said Gustafson.

Board member Heather Chase asked if any fundraising has been done.

Jonynas tells Willis he’s happy to discuss her funding request at budget time

“If this next step (feasibility study) doesn’t take place, I’m not going to head up private fundraising if the town is not doing its part,” said Willis.

Chase said she was proud of what the Select Board has done so far through “tremendous effort and commitment” noting that there have been changes in the way they look at historical buildings including the major work being done on Town Hall.

Jonynas said Willis’ comment “hit me the wrong way. … If we don’t do this we don’t care about the building?” Jonynas added,  “Government moves slowly and money doesn’t fall out of the sky. I’m more than happy to discuss it at budget time.”

While other board members tried to see if there was a way to cobble together some funding from several sources, it was noted that the state funding is $20,000, which must be matched by $20,000 plus $30,000 from the town budget to reach Willis’ goal for work on the building.

2nd annual Wheels in the Field, gravel extraction

The board gave Lee Whiting and Doug Morrison permission to use town property in front of the Brookside Cemetery as well as the Pinnacle for the second annual Wheels in the Field Porsche and BMW motorcycle gathering on Oct. 4, 5 and 6.

Pisha told the board that attorney Jim Goss will soon have the Act 250 application for extracting gravel on the 139 acres off Route 103 South that the town purchased for a second tank for the town’s water system.

Pisha said that the required noise study is under review while a traffic study will be done shortly and that the Act 250 packet would be available to the board electronically.

The select board was meeting at the NewsBank Conference Center while Chester’s Town Hall restoration is under way.

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  1. Tom Knockenhauer says:

    You can’t just build the walkway, now you need lights and resting benches?

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