No clear path for buried sidewalks in Hollis
HOLLIS — Halfway through the winter season, residents living on Long Hill and Tyng Hill roads are still wondering when snow will be removed from their sidewalks.
It won’t happen this winter, the Board of Selectmen agreed during Monday night’s meeting, but should a motion pass on the Town Meeting floor next month, there’s still hope for next year.
Town Administrator Troy Brown said residents of both streets contacted the town in December, and the public works department has since determined it would cost an additional $8,000 to remove snow from the sidewalks on those two roads.
Selectmen noted, however, that there are four additional roads with sidewalks that are not being maintained: Barton Road, Jambard Road, Iron Works Lane and Lynne Drive.
“When you include all these roads, the number isn’t so small anymore,” Selectman Frank Cadwell said.Public Works Director Tom Bayrd said the total cost to plow all of those sidewalks would be just under $23,000.Hollis has $9,000 budgeted for the purpose of plowing sidewalks on major roads, such as Broad Street, where pedestrian traffic is usually high.
Selectmen Vice Chairman Mark LeDoux noted that many of the town’s rural neighborhoods tend to combine their efforts and hire an outside contractor to clear the sidewalks.
Selectman Vahrig Manoukian wondered whether that practice was fair.
“This is a town sidewalk, and it’s already been accepted as such,” he said of the roads in question. “All of these people are taxpayers, and they deserve to have their sidewalks plowed as much as anyone else does.”
Manoukian further noted that many residents use the sidewalks, particularly in the center of town, to walk to the store or to the post office instead of taking their cars on such a short trip.
“Isn’t it the town’s obligation to keep the sidewalks clean for them?” he asked fellow selectmen.
Brown said next year’s proposed budget is already finalized, and the only option for next year would be an amendment to the public works budget on Town Meeting floor.
Board members agreed they would likely pursue that option.
“It’s time to approach the public with this,” Cadwell said.
Voting on all town and school officer positions will take place on Tuesday, March 11 at the Lawrence Barn Community Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A second session of Hollis Town Meeting will take place Wednesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. in the Hollis Brookline Cooperative High School gymnasium, where voters will decide the fate of the budget and all warrant articles.