Goldmine and Old County roads will be strengthened with an estimated 400 cubic yards of one-and-one-half-inch gravel needed to repair damage sustained during Tropical Storm Irene. Three bids were submitted to the selectboard for gravel ranging from $18.75 to $22.50 per cubic yard, with Eilers Bros. submitting the low bid and chosen to supply the gravel. The project will cost an estimated $7,500 in gravel alone.
Roads were a topic of much discussion, as residents voiced concerns about their own paths of travel and wondered if the allotted gravel could also be utilized to fix them. Due to consistently dry conditions this summer, many dirt roads around town have developed washboards, making for bumpy rides. Selectboard chair Raymond Eilers supplied residents with an alternative method: using tough Sur-Pac on what he described as “notorious spots,” citing Howe Pond Road and Shippee Hill Road as examples. “What happens when we deal with washboards is they’re so dry that it (gravel) doesn’t repack and we don’t cure the problem,” explained Eilers. Selectboard member Teddy Hopkins agreed with using Sur-Pac, adding “You don’t need much to be effective.” Superintendant of public works Barry Howes was asked to work on putting together estimates for the quantity of Sur-Pac necessary, as well as the costs.
Another, more controversial road appeared on the agenda, as residents of Wiley Mountain Road attempt to reclassify their rural road from class 4 to class 3. A classification of 4 signifies that the town is only responsible for the culverts and bridges belonging to said road. The town is not responsible for such rural Vermont road necessities as plowing. With the year half over, residents of Wiley Mountain Road, like John Kelly, voiced concerns about the coming winter months, along with the town’s stipulations for reclassifying their road. Kelly expressed grievances over the number of trees residents are expected to remove from their properties at their own expense. “Too many trees are marked,” he explained, “If FairPoint did not want them taken down then how will they get in the way of a plow?” The selectboard agreed to individually revisit the road, while reasserting that compliance with stipulations, such as obtaining access permits for driveways, is the job of each resident in order for the reclassification plan to work.
A new addition to Readsboro is also in the works as the selectboard began discussing plans for constructing a parking lot at the base of Branch Hill Road where a vacant dirt lot now sits. The proposed lot would have space for 10-20 cars, as well as serve as a stop for the MOOver bus. Board member David Marchegiani listed signage, painted lines, and railings for the back of the lot as costs, while Hopkins estimated that 72 tons of blacktop would be necessary for the project, with a price per ton of $76.75.
Residents and selectboard members alike expressed their disdain and concern over a downtown eyesore that Rodney Salamone referred to simply as a “safety hazard” that needs to be boarded up.
A building at 6975 Main Street has been abandoned since January, when it sustained severe damage after it caught on fire. In the months since, the vacant property was put on tax auction with the town the sole bidder. According to Hopkins, who has been in contact with River Valley Credit Union, the bank that currently owns the property, the bank will make a decision on what to do with the property by the deadline of May 19, 2013. While the town expressed a desire to move quickly to resolve the matter, Marchegiani explained that other parties involved have been dragging their feet. “It’s a three-party thing we’ve been dancing with here with the bank and the owner, and it doesn’t seem to move them along any faster.”