When Plumicorns Come True: CPC Meeting Tonight on Ash Street Walkway
As long-time readers know, the Weston Owl has recently started a series where we solve various issues around town in spite of having no discernible expertise in the issue. The series is titled Plumicorns for the super cool fluffy ear things on some owls. Past topics have included a restaurant for the JST, and a solution for the Intersection of Doom. No one has executed on these plumicorns, and yet, tonight you shall see the fruition of a past Plumicorn before it was named such. Except in this case, the Owl did indeed have some expertise.
Here’s the set-up. At town meeting in 2021, also known as Outdoor Town Meeting because it was held on Proctor Field because of Covid, the Ash Street Sidewalk was presented as an asphalt sidewalk that would result in ugliness and tree death. The Owl covered that and her thoughts here. There were many walks on the proposed path that were held and the Owl was not the only one who spoke up for the trees. And yet it passed CPC and was on the Town Meeting Warrant. And because of this, the Owl got up and spoke in public (which is something she hates) and said that she’d really prefer that we look at a path solution–one that might wind through the trees, being that Ash Street is one of the most beautiful streets in the land. You can watch that Town Meeting on Weston Media. The article was voted down.
The Owl’s remarks were not taken very well by the Select Board at that time. I am not surprised because there had been a lot of work put into engineering the asphalt sidewalk. I will say that the Traffic and Sidewalk Committee, even after spending years on the sidewalk plan, took the feedback very well, and went back to the drawing board. Meanwhile, the Owl was asked by the Select Board to help find a solution in spite of having very little, or shall we say, any engineering background. And so she did, writing a report on possible trail solutions, even contacting MWRA and the local resident who bordered on the road there, former Traffic and Sidewalk Committee members, town boards, etc.
That report was turned into DPW and the Select Board and Traffic and Sidewalk on August 30, 2021. No charge, Weston, you know I loves you. If you would like to see a copy of that report, it would be public record with the Town and I can also send you an autographed copy if you prefer. Here’s my favorite response from one of the Select Board members after submitting it: “I am enormously grateful for the work you have done to bring this proposal to the Select Board. I think there is a win-win here; if so, it will be the result of your hard work.” 🙂
Now, in that report, the financial estimate for a walkway through the woods was around $300K BEFORE really looking into the details so don’t get all anchored on that. It is now a $420K CPC ask in the fully-engineered version being presented by our Town Engineer. This is roughly what the asphalt sidewalk would have cost – $400K in 2021.
There has never been a doubt in the Owl’s mind that a walkway is needed to connect the Reservoir and points south to the Legacy Trail and points north. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this evening’s Community Preservation Committee meeting nor was I invited. I’m not hurt, Weston, but if this passes CPC and Town Meeting, this will have been directly started by one little Owl getting up in front of a town. Yes, I am taking credit. So unusual for a woman, no? And a little lesson that you can indeed get heard if you try hard enough and long enough. Yay, Weston! I hope so hard that this will indeed pass CPC and Town Meeting.
Here’s the CPC meeting information.
CPC’s next Online Meeting is Monday, September 18th, 2023, at 7 p.m.
Meeting ID: 840 1870 8753
- Applications for FY24 Special Town Meeting Presenting Monday September 18th, 2023:
- Stewardship Endowment for Conservation Restrictions Case Estates
- Ash Street Trail Walkway
- CPC 2023 Fall Meeting Schedule
- Discussion on the use of CPC sign placement and funding
- All Committee Meeting November 4th at Regis College 9am until 12N
- Speakers and updates on CPA’s policies done by CPA Coalition Stuart Saginor and Town Counsel Lauren Goldberg for CPC members
- Minutes of June 26, 2023 Meeting (vote anticipated)
- Other Committee Business