More Pavement on Main Street Angers Norwich Citizens
Interim town manager catches flack.
Norwich's interim town manager Dave Ormiston caught flack at the selectboard meeting Wednesday night over his decision to pave the graveled shoulders of Main Street running north from the intersection of Beaver Meadow Road to Trumbull Lane.
"Why was was Main Street paved from side to side? Who authorized it to to be done after it was voted down?" asked Jim Gold during the public comments portion of the meeting.
Ormiston responded that it was a decision he made in consultation with Andy Hodgdon, the director of public works. The shoulders were paved to mitigate the formation of potholes and to prevent dirt from going down the storm drains.
The board was clearly not satisfied with Ormiston's response.
"I get sick when I drive by there. Everyone in this room wanted no pavement," said board member Dan Goulet referring to an earlier plan put forth by former town manager Neil Fulton for a wider paved Main Street that included bike lanes. "It completely changes the character of this downtown. This drainage thing—I don't buy it."
Board chair Linda Cook didn't buy the "drainage thing" either.
"We have not had pavement there for 100 years and the drainage worked," she said.
Cook then pressed Ormiston for additional details about the scope of the project. Was the project complete or was more paving planned? Ormiston had no ready answers.
Responding to Cook's question as to why the shoulders were paved when there was such strong opposition, Ormiston said he was unaware it had been a hot button issue.
"Communication could have been better," said Ormiston. "I was unaware of the prior project that was voted down. This was a matter of addressing a problem that could cost the taxpayers money down the road."
Linda Cook seemed skeptical of that explanation. She noted that Public Works Director Andy Hodgdon was aware of the earlier controversy.
Ormiston was asked to report back to the board with full details about the scope and cost of the paving.