By a 3-1 vote, the Selectboard agreed to acquire the 5,318 linear feet of sidewalks owned by the Norwich Fire District on an “as is” basis. The Town owns the other 10,529 feet of sidewalks, which it either built or accepted from the NFD after the Fire District paid to upgrade them to Town specifications.
To paraphrase Selectboard member Stephen Flanders, who made the motion, the sidewalks are a community asset, the cost of maintenance is small, and upgrades to the sidewalks can be made when and if the budget permits. However, Selectboard member Linda Cook, who voted no, said the cost to upgrade the NFD sidewalks to Town standards is a complete unknown, adding that the cost to upgrade one Fire District sidewalk along Main Street was $28,000 in 2015. No official representative of the Norwich Fire District attended the meeting but its Prudential Committee previously voted unanimously to accept the proposal.