Friday, April 13, 2001
School Loop pathway begins to take shape
The School Loop pathway committee, with Chair Deb Belanger and members Art Milliken, police chief David Galvin and department of public works (DPW) superintendent Gary Davis, was at the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) meeting on April 3 to seek approval for an easement on school property to begin the engineering of the pathway. The pathway committee will present the School Loop plan at the May Town Meeting, but needs to complete the preliminary engineering and easement work in preparation for the meeting.
The School Loop pathway begins at the School Street Spalding School driveway and runs along Church Street to Bedford Road, the Banta-Davis ballfields and Kimball's Bates Farm Ice Cream stand, and circles along Bedford Road to the library, the town center and School Street. It will be a meandering four-to-five foot wide, off-road path sited often behind stonewalls and other natural features. The material to be used on the path will be organic aggregate stabilizer, similar to that used at the Minuteman National Park. This pathway will allow safer pedestrian movement between the more heavily-used areas in the town center such as the school, the ballfields, the playgrounds and Daisy's store.
Town Meeting 2000 voted to give the committee $30,000 of Chapter 90 funds to initiate the engineering and design of the pathway. DPW superintendent Gary Davis hopes to do much of the work of the pathway himself, to keep the costs down, and has assumed the responsibility for the construction and maintenance of the pathway.
The deteriorated portions of the stonewalls near the roads would be restored, a section would be opened for access at the corner, and there would be some regrading between the school parking lot driveways. The engineering of the pathway would be started on the section near the school. "It is in the interest of the pathway committee to make this section nice so the town will support the plan," said Belanger.
CSC member David Dockterman expressed concern about the pathway impact on the playground area. "I hate to give up what we have." Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson echoed this, "The barrier of the trees is useful to keep the children from the streets."
"The visual barrier for the most part will contain the children," Belanger replied, "There is more than 50 feet between the proposed pathway and the playground. The barrier also has some rock croppings and trees which would be left intact."
Dockterman asked when the work would be done. Belanger hoped some clearing could be started as soon as possible. Other questions raised by
Dockterman centered on the security issue. The pathway would be available to the public. He asked, "Would there be a problem of security when school was in session?" He also questioned whether there would be problems of noise and disturbances during the engineering process while the school was in session.
Police chief Galvin answered, "The section of the pathway under the care and custody of the school would enable the children to be off the street behind the stonewall from the Spalding School driveway to Church Street and the school parking lots. Due to the nature of the puckerbrush in the buffer zone, I don't see there is a safety issue. The pathway would be used primarily by people in the know, locals and children." Belanger said, "There is a big risk when kids are in the street." Galvin added, " There is a large risk now with the snow banks. The pathway can only help with a bad situation."
Morrison concluded, "It increases the safety for children to have a path. It is good for Carlisle to have a friendly pathway on campus. We should support it." It was noted by Morrison that the pathway issue was on the school committee meeting agenda. If there were concerns from the public, the opportunity was available for them to be expressed. No one from the public was present.
The Carlisle School Committee members present approved providing an easement on the property for the use of creating a footpath as close to the stonewall as trees and topography allow. They also expressed the wish that engineering and construction would be done with the approval of a designated school committee member and not interfere with school programs and activities.
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