This is Peter Gold’s report on the March Representative Town Meeting. He is an RTM member writing for himself, not in an official capacity.
Schools and sidewalks — including sidewalks to schools — were the subject of the March RTM meeting.
The RTM unanimously approved $467,927 for design costs for new roofs at Staples High School and Saugatuck Elementary Schools (actual construction costs will) follow, and $280,364 to install a replacement cooling tower at Greens Farms School. These projects will be completed this summer.
During the debate, school administrators noted they have identified approximately $60 million in capital projects over the next 5 years. Around $12 million will be spent on these projects in the next 2 years, in part to address deferred maintenance.
The RTM also approved $515,000 for 2 sidewalk projects. $350,000 will be used to replace 1.3 miles of the existing sidewalk on North Avenue from Cross Highway up to Coleytown Middle School, completing a walking path all the way from Long Lots School to Coleytown.
The remaining $165,000 is for replacement of the existing sidewalk on Maple Avenue South, between Clapboard Hill Road and the Post Road. The state will reimburse the town $128,295 of this amount. Both projects are expected to be completed over the next 2 summers.
The Town has 23.4 miles of sidewalk, and repairs about 6.3 miles every year. Decisions on which sidewalks to repair are based on many factors, including proximity to schools, conditions of the sidewalks and pedestrian use. The town also prioritizes repairing existing sidewalks over building new ones.
Several RTM members suggested it would be prudent to fund a more proactive approach to planning, building and maintaining the sidewalk network.