To the Editor:
I listened to the entire Town Meeting on Tuesday evening. I was especially interested in the discussion about the proposed sidewalk from Helen Keller to the Easton Village Store and on to the crosswalk at Silverman’s. The good news is that none of the speakers, on either side of the issue, thought the current situation is safe for our children.
The only alternative to moving forward with the sidewalk proposal was to improve an existing trail that goes through the woods from Helen Keller to Old Oak Road and after crossing the road goes on Aquarion
land behind several houses and ends up behind the Easton Village Store and the parking lot at Silverman’s.
Our family had lived in Easton since 1986. Both of our children and three of our grandchildren have gone to Helen Keller and our grandson will be attending in a few years. I have never heard of the Helen Keller trail. On Wednesday morning I went on a search for the trail. I expected to see trail signs and tree markings like those at the Paine Open Space. I couldn’t find any signage. I spoke to the policeman who was directing traffic at Helen Keller and he was not aware of any trail.
Finally, I walked onto the fields below Helen Keller and saw a maintenance man on a tractor. I asked him about the trail, and he directed me to a far corner of the athletic field, just to the left of the goal post, He warned me that the trail is overgrown and hardly ever used. I found the trail head and tried to walk the trail to Old Oak which appeared to be a steep climb down. I literally went about 20 feet down the trail and had to turn back because of the overgrown foliage and the fallen trees.
I reached out to my three teenage granddaughters to see if they knew of the trail and had ever used it. None of them had. The response they gave is that when they wanted to go to the Easton Village Store after school, they just walked with their friends on Sport Hill Road.
I think that this is a key point that was raised by Art Laske at the Town Meeting. Even if we enhanced the trail and worked out an arrangement with Aquarion, the teenagers will still walk on Sport Hill Road. And with the steep grade it is unlike that it could ever be accessible to all residents of Easton—not just our middle school children, but those with disabilities or walking children with strollers.
One last point. I agree that we need a new EMS building as the current building does not serve the town’s needs. However, repair or replacing the EMS building will most likely be a multimillion-dollar project and should be financed over the long term.