Sidewalk project sub-committee proposed to Select Board

Mar 27, 2024

MATTAPOISETT — The project that would address roadways and affect trees on Water Street, Main Street, Beacon Road and Marion Road has once again been brought before the Mattapoisett Select Board.

Members of the Mattapoisett Tree Committee proposed the formation of a road reconstruction committee to “facilitate taxpayers rights to fully participate” in the Main Street Project at a Mattapoisett Select Board meeting on Tuesday, March 26.

The potential project would upgrade Mattapoisett roadways, including creating sidewalks that are up to date with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. A public hearing involving the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to discuss the 25% design of the project is set to be held in July.

The current expected cost of the project has grown to $16 million, according to the Mattapoisett Select Board. The project is set to be paid for by state funding.

“We would like to facilitate taxpayers' rights to fully participate in this project,” said Tree Committee member Michael Immel, who said that the proposed sub-committee could be made up of urban designers and landscape architects.

Immel said that the new committee would be able to help make decisions quickly and serve as a bridge between the public and the project.

“A positive outcome of that kind of arrangement will give taxpayers the transparency they need and give a way for their concerns to be heard,” said Immel.

He also said that the road reconstruction committee would help lighten the load of construction management off of the Mattapoisett Select Board.

Immel said the new group would ideally have a role in the public hearing with the Department of Transportation in July.

“Adding a board will just make for a round and round of discussions…that could potentially stall a town project,” said Select Board chair Jodi Bauer.

“A committee does not change DOT requirements. A committee doesn’t widen or narrow roads,” said Select Board member Tyler Macallister. “This project is growing exponentially in cost and by delaying it, we are seriously jeopardizing the ability to improve our roads.”

Tree Committee Chair Sandy Herring said that the Select Board could take some time to think about the formation of a road reconstruction committee.

“You have the power to form this committee…If you want to wait ten days and give us the chance to work with you on it in those ten days, that would be fine too,” said Herring. “Otherwise…myself and some other people are going to have to go the route of making a citizen's petition.”

A citizen’s petition could potentially create an article to be voted on at Special Town Meeting in the fall.