Town shows willingness to take back avenue
While selectmen stopped short of voting to reinstate the services on a road the town had previously maintained, they expressed a willingness to work with residents toward a plan.
Selectmen voted in December to discontinue town services on Lamson Avenue after a 'No Trespassing' sign was put up by residents, which prohibited Goffstown High School students from crossing Lamson Avenue to get to Barnard Park.
At the time, selectmen said the move extinguished the public benefit to the town, which prompted the vote.
But residents said the rug was pulled out from under them after they granted land easements to the town in 2010, when the Department of Public Works installed porous pavement on the road as part of a federally funded 'Green Drainage Project,' then notified them that the road would no longer be plowed.
Public Works Director Carl Quiram said the public benefit issue was separate from any actions taken during the drainage project.
Several Lamson Avenue residents attended Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting to discuss whether there is enough public benefit to the town for services to be restored.
Barry Boisvert, a spokesperson for the residents, explained to selectmen at Monday's meeting that he had received an email from Goffstown High School Athletic Director Steve Fountain, asking that the students be allowed to cross Lamson Avenue, so students don't have to cross Mast Road to get to the park.
'We're here to revisit the maintenance issue,' Boisvert said.
Scott Gross, vice chairman of the Board of Selectmen, asked if the issues regarding public benefit would become moot if the town adopted the road, but both Boisvert and resident Tom Mulligan were concerned that the road would have to be widened to comply with town specifications, cutting into residential land.
Selectmen agreed they could potentially waive the width requirement of the road so that landowners could keep their property.
Selectman Collis Adams said the issue was a prime example of an opportunity for a private-public partnership.
'I don't see anything here that is insurmountable,' Adams said.
Mulligan and Boisvert said they don't have a problem with students crossing the area to get to Barnard Park.
'We'd like them to use the road,' Mulligan said.
'We'd love to find a way to work with you to make it happen,' said Boisvert.
Within the next few weeks, selectmen will work with the Public Works Department to see what measures need to be taken to adopt the road.
'We have consensus,' said Selectman David Pierce, 'and we'll work with you.'
Whether the town adopts the road or recognizes the public benefit to maintaining services, resident Cynthia Boisvert said she is pleased with the results.
'Either way, there's a massive public good,' she said.
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Kathy Remillard may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.