by Mike Lance, E. Hardwick
The poor condition of sidewalks in East Hardwick was raised as an issue in the January 3, 2019, select board meeting. It was pointed out that the sidewalks are in poor repair and some parts are even lower than the street, which results in flooding in some of the homes during heavy rain. At that meeting the select board said it is a need that comes up perennially.
The reason given at that meeting for not addressing it was that they need a grant to fund the repairs.
However, a grant, known as the ARPA fund, came available in 2022 – three years later. Nothing was allocated from ARPA for East Hardwick infrastructure, including sidewalks. The reason given by the board was that though they recognized the need emphasized, it belonged in the town’s regular budget.
In the regular budget, which it apparently didn’t in 2019, or any of the years before or since, while it waited for a grant.
In the regular budget where, according to the select board, it has languished unaddressed, to be raised as an issue perennially.
Reinstallation of sidewalks was done on Church Street in Hardwick, which weren’t anywhere close to the poor shape of those in East Hardwick. But as the town manager has been known to say; it had to be done since it’s in front of his office.
To date, the town hasn’t wasted time to prepare an estimate of what the East Hardwick sidewalk repairs would cost. In 2019 Remick said they would cost a lot, as a reason for not having them done, but has he ever seen an estimate?
Most of the ARPA funding (about 60%) will be used for the Waste Water Treatment Plant which serves Hardwick Village. However, while the board reasoned that the WWTP serves the entire town what have they really done about the rest of the town? If they want to serve the entire town with waste treatment, why not establish a fund that supports septic cleaning for all of the other Hardwick citizens? Are most of the board members’ homes serviced by the WWTP?
Also, there are guard rails all over Hardwick, outside the village, which are collapsed. Those at the intersection of Pumpkin Lane and Porter Brook Road (see photo) are a good example. Guardrails are supposed to safely protect from precipitous drops off the roadways. Many of the town’s guardrails have been severely damaged for years. Google Maps has an image of the Pumpkin Lane – Porter Brook damaged guardrails from 2014. However, those in Hardwick Village have been recently repaired as part of the many updates done there.
What will it take to get the select board to care about Hardwick outside the village?