DOT looks at potential sidewalk in South Thomaston villageRoute 73 bridge also needs repair
South Thomaston — Engineers from the Maine Department of Transportation met with the selectmen Friday, June 29, to discuss the steps for putting in a sidewalk around the Gilford Butler School.
Because of the proximity of the school to the village, a sidewalk could extend past the Keag Store at the center, past the post office on Elm Street and past the library on Dublin Road.
Dan Stewart, State Safe Routes to School coordinator, and Marc Laliberte of the DOT met at the town hall Friday afternoon with Selectmen Patrick "Mike" Florance and Robert Branco to study the layout of streets and the feasibility of sidewalks.
The town would be looking for a mini-grant from the DOT to build a sidewalk as well as a state Transportation Enhancement matching grant to go beyond the school zone. The sidewalk mini-grant would be fully funded, whereas the transportation enhancement grant would require a 20 percent local match, said Stewart.
All mini-grant projects include at least one safe walking or biking experience for local students and one activity that improves safety and promotes safe walking and bicycling, according to the Safe Routes website.
Following the visit at the town hall, the officials toured the sites that could have sidewalks.
Also attending the meeting were residents Joseph and Verna Baum and Ruth Rinklin.
Stewart urged the selectmen to think of their project in three sections: part one would go along Spruce Head Road from the corner of Elm Street and Dublin Road up past the school, estimated at about 2,000 linear feet.
Part two would go along Westbrook Street and run westerly about 1,000 feet. Part three would go on Elm Street past the post office and up the curved hill that many consider dangerous because of poor visibility.
Stewart advised the selectmen to get their grant applications in by Aug. 3.
He also recommended a joint application for sidewalk construction and road reconstruction in some areas.
The Baums said they were delighted with the presentation. "We've been pushing for a sidewalk for five or six years," said Verna Baum.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.