September 4, 2013

Belgrade wants road work done

BY BETTY ADAMS Staff Writer

BELGRADE -- The town wants to participate in state plans to do road work in Belgrade Lakes Village.

All five selectpersons voted to send a letter of intent to the state Department of Transportation, but the intent was a little vague.

It supported putting a skim coat on Main Street, giving some additional width for parking and reconstructing sidewalks, which is expected to cost the town an estimated $55,200.

The vote Tuesday night came after a trio of Belgrade business owners voiced concerns about the disruption to their livelihood that would occur if a full reconstruction were supported.

Charles Grover, owner of the Village Inn, said the Belgrade Lakes Region Business Group had an independent survey done of village residents and businesses to discover their preferences.

Grover said the ratio was 4-to-1 in favor of doing a skim coat of pavement along the 600 yards of the village along with replacing and improving the sidewalks.

Only 20 percent of those surveyed favored a complete reconstruction of the road.

The survey said the disadvantage of full reconstruction would be having to "close the village commerce down for an unreasonable period of time, causing significant loss of business and businesses, potential bankruptcy for some and loss of jobs."

Grover told the Board of Selectpersons, "Consider the majority of the people the project affects."

Selectperson Melanie Jewell said jt was important to provide some guidance to the state.

"Overall, it's a state project," Jewell said. "We can hope that they take it into consideration, but they don't have to."

She said residents have spent two years working on the town's streetscape project.

"The final say is the taxpayers' decision," said Bruce Plourd, board chairman.

Jack Sutton, who lives outside the village area, said he preferred to see a full reconstruction.

"It's very short-sighted for the town to miss the opportunity to get the road rebuilt and rebuilt right," Sutton told the board.

Bill Pulsifer, who owns property and lives in the village area, came to the meeting to show his support for full reconstruction, but he had to leave to respond to a fire call just as that discussion began.

"I'd have to give up some land, but we need the sidewalks," he said after returning to the Town Office.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631

badams@mainetoday.com

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