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Talking the (side)walk

Selectmen mull TM input, but do residents care?

July 28, 2010
STURBRIDGE — As controversy over whether bricks should be installed in new sidewalks along the Town Common, an informal survey of residents by Selectman Scott Garieri indicates they don't care about the issue.

"They look at me and then laugh," Garieri said about the responses he's received when asking many residents about whether they had ever not visited a town because it lacked brick sidewalks.

"I got the same kind of crazy look, like 'no' [when he asked whether people had visited a town because it had brick sidewalks]," Garieri said.

The survey results come as selectmen are tentatively scheduled to discuss whether the issue should go to a September Special Town Meeting on Monday, Aug. 2.

At issue is whether the town should spend $176,000 to install new brick sidewalks on the east and westbound sides of Route 131 near the Publick House in the interest of historic preservation. Selectmen, in a 3-2 vote last week, supported spending $176,000 to install a brick sidewalk, but Garieri has called for Town Meeting voters to decide the issue. However, the state Department of Transportation has money in its reserve fund to pay for concrete sidewalks, as part of it resurfacing of Route 131. Garieri said, however, said the likelihood of the state shelling out for project is diminishing since it is already $600,000 over its budget.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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