Rail Trail question to be asked on May 10 ballot
By Diane C. Beaudoin

TOWNSEND -- A nonbinding referendum question will be on the May 10 special election ballot that asks voters their opinion on a Rail Trail bike path to run in the harbor area of town.

The question will not cost the town any money, said Board of Selectmen member Robert Plamondon. It is strictly to get a general opinion on the subject.

”The question will be to put in the path from Harbor Village to Depot Street,” said Plamondon. “I understand there are diverse opinions on this, but I think the town as a whole should have their say.”

Selectman Peter Collins was quick to say he is not in favor of the question appearing on the ballot.

”You can drive in this town, mainly the west side, and sustain front-end damage to your vehicle. There are granite curbs that are disintegrating, reduced to dust. There are unmarked streets and street lights in disrepair,” he said. “We have vehicles that are being held together with wire and chewing gum.

”It is like standing in line for funding, like a blind man with a tin cup begging on the subway,” he said. “I cannot see asking to put one thin dime for a trail in the woods. It is very irresponsible.”

Selectman Chairman Daniel Murphy told Collins this is not a financial commitment.

”This is just a gauge of the interest in the town for a trail. It will not cost us any money to ask the question, and there is no commitment either way,” he said.

Collins said he knew it was not a financial question at this time.

”To me, the exercise to gain public interest has been done. I think it’s granting false hope to the proponents of the trail if we ask again,” Collins said.

Murphy and Plamondon both voted to put the question on the ballot, with Collins voting against.