Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
The Acushnet Selectboard heard from Town Planner Henry Young about a potential bypass of South Main Street at its meeting on 11/14.
South Main Street is a state road, for unknown reasons, and Mr. Young said that state representatives have been pushing the town to take over that stretch, which is from Main Street to the Fairhaven line.
The proposed bypass road would start at around the Century House and go all the way to Slocum Street. The idea is to lighten up the truck traffic and through traffic.
The properties involved are privately owned, so the town would either need a right of way granted by home-owners, or would have to buy the land.
Mr. Young told the board he would apply for grants, and that the Town had a good opportunity at this time to speak to the state regarding funding.
In a follow-up phone interview, Mr. Young said that the stretch of South Main Street in question is heavily trafficked and is expensive to maintain. Diverting some of the traffic would ease up on some of that cost.
The idea, has been part of the town’s Master Plan and has been kicking around town for about 10 years.
“As of late, the state has been really pushing to divest itself of South Main Street,” said Mr. Young.
The reason it is a state road in the first place is a mystery he said, but it is no mystery why the state wants to get rid of it.
“To them it’s an obscure and expensive road to maintain,” said Mr. Young.
Selectboard Chairperson Kevin Gaspar said he would be in favor of exploring options for project. The Board voted unanimously to explore concept further.
The board also discussed the town’s support of the legalization of the marijuana. Mr. Gaspar stated that back in November 2016, a ballot question asked town voters whether they were in favor of legalization of marijuana in the state. It only passed by 2%, which was a 119 vote difference between “yes” and “no.”
Mr. Gaspar said he felt that the Board needed to put the question on the ballot for the Town election in April.
“We are asking now, do you want marijuana to be legalized in our Town,” Mr. Gaspar said. “There could be a big difference from the state vote to now in our back yard.”
Board member Michael Cioper agreed, stating he would like to see the question on a Town election ballot.
Board member Roger Cabral opposed, stating that whether it was passed by one vote or two percent it had already been voted on. He said Acushnet residents decided they were in favor of legalized marijuana.
“I think government needs to stay out of it,” said Mr. Cabral.
Town Administrator Brian Noble told the board that ballot questions need to pertain to the town. The first question would be, “Do you favor marijuana legalization in the Town of Acushnet?”
He said that a number of towns have put forth the question on their local ballots and at least 14 towns state-wide have seen a different outcome.
The Selectboard voted two to one, with Mr. Cabral opposing, to create the ballot question for the April election.
An update from Mr. Noble pointed out that the Department of Public Works is still working on Main and Wamsutta Streets for the sewer expansion, and is making good time in getting it completed by end of November.
Mr. Noble said he spoke with DPW Superintendent Dan Menard, and he confirmed that the stubs would be completed on Wamsutta Street by the middle of this week, and then the streets should be re-sealed and patched by the end of November.
Mr. Noble gave kudos to the DPW crew for their diligence in getting the work done and he thanked the residents in that area for their patience.
Mr. Noble also reported that the town received a grant for a Capital Budget Planning consultant who would be hired by the end of December.
In other business, Police Chief Michael Alves was present to recommend the appointments of three part-time police officers to attend the part-time academy to be held right here in Acushnet. He stated it was a year long training until they became Acushnet police officers.
Chief Alves also shared the “No Shave November” fundraiser that members of the Police Department were participating in. He stated that each officer had to give a donation of $100 not to shave for the month of November to the www.homebase.org foundation, which is a Red Sox charity that assists veterans returning home from war.
Chief Alves asked anyone who would like to make a donation to visit the town’s police Facebook page or they can make a donation directly to homebase.org. •••
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Y6V5ARRYH689G
Click here to download the entire 11-09-17 issue: 11-16-17 VetsParade