Old quarry preserved, bike path pushed forward at Mattapoisett Town Meeting

Nov 28, 2017

More than 100 voters approved money for road improvements, a conservation acquisition and the acceptance of public ways and money for the bike path at the Mattapoisett Town Meeting on Monday night.

Voters approved $250,000 to fund repairs, design, engineering and improvements of town roads. Town Administrator Mike Gagne said the goal was to fix a portion of Church Street and Acushnet Road.

“We want to replace the sidewalks and put new paving on Church Street,” he said. “We also have two sections on Acushnet Road…We want to overlay those sections.”

The Old Hammond Quarry conservation restriction request was also approved by voters. The request doesn’t cost the town anything, but merely gives the town permission to purchase the conservation with funding from grants and other sources.

Allen Decker, the director of land protection for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, said that the funds from grants will allow the Coalition and the Mattapoisett Land Trust to turn the historic property into a place the public could enjoy.

“[The property] has the Old Hammond Quarry on it, it has [quarry pits], old equipment,” he said. “We would create signage, have trails that make it more accessible, and in the future create a parking area off Mattapoisett Neck Road for easier public access.”

Resident Cindy Johnson was concerned about safety, but Decker assured her the pits would be made safe for the public and the item was approved.

Voters also approved what Gagne believes to be the final easements and monies for the bike path.

Portions of both Reservation Road and Goodspeed Island road were accepted as public ways so that the cyclists could access that area. Additionally, the spending of $55,000 was approved for funding any additional costs to complete the path.

When completed, the bike path will be part of a 50-mile continuous system of paths connecting Rhode Island to Cape Cod. The Mattapoisett portion will be a 4.5-mile multi-use path.

The path is a $10 million project, but Gagne estimates the town has only contributed about $500,000 of that. The rest is comprised of state and federal money.

“Please tell me this is the last appropriation we’re going to be nitpicked to death on,” resident Doug Schneider said. “It seems like every Town Meeting we’re asked for more. I really hope we’re done with this.”

“I can tell you that I’m not aware of any additional costs,” Gagne assured him.

Thus far, the mile from the Fairhaven town line to Mattapoisett Neck Road has been completed. The next section will run to Depot Street.