PLAINVILLE - Town Manager Robert E. Lee has responded directly to residents who have spoken against the trail gap closure at town meetings.
The recent Town Council meeting saw several residents who have consistently spoken against the trail re-iterate their opposition during the public comment section of the meeting. This included Katherine LaBella, Gayle Dennehy, Linda Ferguson, Roberta Lauria and Joel and Joanne Edman.
At the very end of the meeting, Lee responded to them.
“Nobody on my staff and people working with us are looking to fill this gap in a way that will have a negative impact on people living in town,” said Lee. “Other communities who have a trail have embraced it and it has been a great benefit to them. I don’t anticipate that we will be any different.”
Lee added that the new trail alignment will now have the trail run directly in front of his home and that both he and his wife are happy about this fact.
“I believe, and my staff believes, in this trail and we have been pushing for it for more than a dozen years,” said Lee. “I believe that most of the issues that have been brought up can be addressed in the design phase of the project. Also, there is very little evidence that having a trail will cause increased crime, vandalism, etc. Experience has shown just the opposite in fact. No town that has a trail has then turned around and said ‘I wish we hadn’t done that.’ None of us that are involved are looking to do anything negative.”
Lee said he believes the community is largely supportive of the trail, citing a public information session held in October at Plainville High School that saw 150 to 200 people attend.
“The notion that the people who come here on a regular basis and say the same things every week represent the majority - I don’t believe that to be the case,” said Lee. “Yes, it will be different. But are you against it even if it is a positive difference? Most of the people who gave been most involved in this trail process for years believe that it will be a great benefit to the people of Plainville.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.