Friday, October 26, 2007
Meet the people behind the Town Center pathway project
The members of the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee include: Chair Jack Troast of Concord Street, John Bakewell of Rutland Street, Eileen Faber of Lowell Street and Deb Belanger of Palmer Way. A fifth member, Nancy Szczesniak, will be resigning. The committee would like to add someone with experience in construction management.
Jack Troast joined the committee in 2003. As a Concord Street resident, Troast saw the down side of living on a busy road without sidewalks. He has a six-year old and says, "I'm interested in walking myself. I would like my family to have the ability to use the pathways." He adds, "I am also a runner and avid user of the Bedford path."
State government is Troast's background, and he says he brings an appreciation for "the public service perspective — how government works." He also has financial experience and "my consistent role throughout was to look at the finances and really crunch the numbers."
Troast served as chair from 2004 to 2006 and says, "I'm happy to have such continuity on the committee. The four of us have been through quite a few twists and turns, and know the process and the history."
John Bakewell is an arborist and father of teenagers. He joined the committee in 1998 because "I believe community connectedness is important." He adds, "I don't like the status quo that people can't walk around safely."
In addition to his tree knowledge, Bakewell has an engineering background that has proven useful on the project. But one of his greatest contributions may be his nine years of experience with the committee. "I feel a sense of loyalty to this committee. It's time to see it through."
As a user of the trails system, Bakewell is particularly interested in seeing trails linked by pathways. He views many neighborhoods in towns as "watersheds" that are currently landlocked, but with the opening of pathways will be able to flow. "There is a large population of people who will now have some circuits and be able to use those trails."
Eileen Faber joined the committee at about the same time as Troast. "We moved to Carlisle about ten years ago from Sudbury. I had three children under the age of three at the time. In Sudbury I was able to walk every day with the three kids on pathways/sidewalks around town. When I moved to Carlisle I really missed that opportunity."
She notes her contributions to the committee included coordinating materials with suppliers, liaison to contractors and the DPW, and handling of administrative responsibilities. She appreciates that throughout the project, the DPW and Gary Davis have worked cooperatively with the committee to reduce costs that would have been accrued if everything had been contracted out.
"I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most devoted and creative people," she says. "I look forward to seeing this project to its fruition."
Deb Belanger was brought on board the committee in 1995 by then-Selectman Vivian Chaput. "I'm not an engineer, planner or architect," says Belanger. "I like to walk and cycle, believe in civic duty and enjoy a good challenge. This is such a great place to live, but only the sure-of-foot can get out and safely enjoy it. So I saw pathways as one way for young people to gain some independence and for older folks to hold onto theirs."
She continues, "For me, I've gotten to know some of the best people I will ever meet and had the pleasure of working on a fully engaging project. And, we're almost there!"
© 2007 The