Comments about the proposed multi-use path along Sport Hill Road and the results of the March 30th referendum dominated the discussion during the regular Board of Selectmen meeting on April 1st. Several people spoke during public comment in support of the pathway, the outcome of the vote and urged the Board of Finance to approve funding for the project. Several others expressed continued concern and urged further review of the plan and alternatives options.
The referendum ballot included an advisory question about whether the town should allocate $249,400 to cover 20% of the project, with the other 80% coming from federal transportation funds administered through the state. The total project cost is set at $1,247,000. The final official results on the question were 708 in favor and 604 opposed, or 54% in favor to 46% opposed.
The selectmen agreed that they the would like to see the Board of Finance discuss and approve a special appropriation for the funds at the board’s meeting on April 6th. That would allow the special appropriation to be included on the agenda for the regular Town Meeting at the end of April. Should the Board of Finance recommend the special appropriation, the question would then need approval from the Town Meeting or another referendum before being finalized.
Selectman Bob Lessler acknowledged the desire to explore an alternative path through the woods but expressed concern about the amount of time that may take. He suggested that the Board of Finance allow both plans to proceed at the same time. That would mean recommending the special appropriation for the multi-use pathway in order to keep the process moving forward in recognition that the state needs to know whether the town will accept the grant. At the same time, conversations about the feasibility of the wooded path can continue.
The selectmen meetings also included the following:
- Discussion about upcoming meetings to finalize the town’s entry into the Westport Weston Health District following approval in the referendum. The town will need to select a representative to serve on the health district board.
- Appointment of Brian Williams to serve on the South Park Advisory Committee
- Acceptance of the resignation of Shari Williams from the Easton Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. The task force currently has two open seats and one open alternate position.
The next Board of Selectmen meeting is on April 22nd, which deviates from the standard schedule of the third Thursday of the month. The date is noted on the approved meeting schedule for 2021.