Letter: A Last-Minute Plea For Easton Citizens’ Safety and Fiscal Responsibility

To the Editor:

For the safety of Easton pedestrians and sensible use of our taxpayer funds, we should Vote “NO” on advisory BALLOT ITEM #5 that calls for spending a quarter-million dollars of our taxpayer money to build a multi-use sidewalk right next to speeding traffic on Sport Hill Road (RT 59)

Here’s why you should vote “NO”: This sidewalk will force pedestrians, children, people in wheelchairs, and bicyclists to travel alongside this busy, dangerous roadway, rather than provide them with a safer, more affordable option –– to travel on the existing pathway that citizens created years ago to prevent the need for walking on the hazardous Sport Hill highway. Fixing up this existing path is a far safer and much cheaper option with less liability for the town and is more in keeping with Easton’s natural character.

Efforts are already underway to fix the existing off-highway path. Board of Finance Chairman Andy Kachele contacted Aquarion Water Company for permission to use their land where necessary for a path from Helen Keller Middle School to the Easton Village Store, and Aquarion has put this on their next meeting’s agenda. Members of the community are already expressing interest in helping with the tools, equipment, and labor to fix up the existing pathway. We can make this a great community project that brings Easton together and provides what Eason needs – a safe economical pathway that is in keeping with Easton’s rustic, bucolic character.

The “Charette” that the Easton Planning & Zoning Commission conducted on this multi-use Sidewalk revealed a strong public desire for the better alternative of fixing the existing path through the woods further away from Rt. 59, and Land Use Consultant Justin Giordano has mentioned exploring this path. The “Charette” also revealed that not only did P&Z want to create this expansive and expensive walkway along state Highway 59, it also revealed that P&Z plans to continue this walkway system down the other side of Sport Hill Road, convert Banks Road into a one way road that continues along Banks Rd. to Town Hall, to the library, and to Greiser’s Store. Who will pay for this elaborate walkway system? And why would we need it?

Over 73% of our budget goes to school education. We are in need of fixing two bridges, replacing our 95 year-old EMS building (approximately $1.5 million), raising necessary funds to replace Helen Keller’s roof, and spending $180,00 to replace air tanks for the Easton Fire Department. How much can Easton taxpayers FUND? In light of all these needs, this sidewalk is not fiscally responsible spending – especially when there is a far better and safer alternative.

June Logie

Grant Monsarrat

Easton , CT

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