Board dithers over Valley Trail plowing
by Lauren Harkawik
Dec 19, 2017 | 2050 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DOVER - At the selectboard’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, December 5, road commissioner Bobby Holland said plowing a portion of the Valley Trail that has been previously unmaintained wasn’t estimated to raise costs significantly for the town. Cost aside, debate ensued about whether or not maintenance of the trail aligns with its original intended purpose, and Sandy MacDougall, whose inn is situated on the portion in question, said he did not want snow being plowed onto his property. Meanwhile, Carol Ann Eldridge said she feels her health depends on availability of the trail, calling it a life or death matter.

The stretch of trail in question goes from the park just south of 7-Eleven, behind the Dover Forge, and back up to where the path crosses a bridge and continues south along Route 100, in front of MacDougall’s inn, Layla’s Riverside Lodge. Due to wells, treating the section of trail that connects the park to Mountain Plaza with salt and chemicals is not possible. Holland proposed plowing that section and putting up signs that caution that the pavement is untreated.

MacDougall said he had concerns about a lack of lighting on the portion of the trail and said he did not want snow from the trail plowed onto his property. “All of that salt will destroy my grass,” said MacDougall. Holland said the snow could not be dumped onto Route 100, which would mean snow, at least in front of MacDougall’s property, would need to be trucked away, which would increase costs.

Board member Joe Mahon said he has concerns about motor vehicles on the trail. “I just don’t want to start wrecking the trail by putting trucks on it when it’s wet and cold,” said Mahon. “If the drainage isn’t right we’re going to start breaking up the thing and in the spring it’s going to be a mess. Then we’re going to spend even more money.”

Eldridge said she uses the trail every day and that she feels her health depends on its being maintained through the winter. “Last winter I had no place to walk,” said Eldridge. “My health went down so bad that it took me two months to recover in the spring. My doctor says I need to walk two miles a day. There is no mall to go walk around in. If I don’t have that trail cleared to walk in the winter, my health is going down the drain, it’s like life or death to me.”

Board member Sarah Shippey asked if the in-town sidewalk portion of the trail, which must be plowed, would suffice. “I can’t see wanting to do four laps of that small bit every day,” said Eldridge.

Fire chief Rich Werner said the original agreement for the trail did not include winter use, but Jim McDevitt said he thought the intention was that a year-round trail was being built. The selectboard ultimately decided to table the issue until the paperwork for the original project could be reviewed, so as to clarify whether winter use was part of the original plan.
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