To the Editor:
Like many residents, I was concerned with the easement issues raised by the Main Street Alliance, and I don’t think a petition of 350 residents can be easily ignored. After conducting my own research on the project, I am as big a supporter of the Downtown Corridor Project as ever, and I’d like to share some highlights from what I have found.
There is only one property in which private land is being taken. It is owned by Crosspoint (CVS) and it is being used to straighten the intersection of Main Street and Grove Street to improve the traffic flow at the intersection. Crosspoint is fully supportive of the project. Based on my research, any other claims of land being taken are false.
The most impacted properties by the project are Crosspoint/CVS, the Sunoco station (additional vehicle lane added), and several properties across from Town Hall.
It’s important to understand that a person’s private property typically doesn’t extend all the way to the edge of the street, only to the edge of the “right-of-way.” In some cases, property owners have maintained and/or improved this town-owned land on their own accord. For example, one outspoken opponent of the project on West Main Street has a stone wall that is built in the right-of-way on town owned land. In this situation, our town officials have worked with the property owner to eliminate any permanent easement and have offered to rebuild the wall, approximately two feet back from its current location, at no cost to the homeowner. The town has also worked with other property owners and is paying to reconstruct what was previously built/maintained on town-owned land (e.g. landscaping, lawn irrigation, etc).
This project will reduce traffic congestion, attract businesses and people to our new beautiful town center, and improve access to downtown for pedestrians and cyclists, all in the most financially prudent approach possible (Hopkinton is only paying for approximately 20 percent of the total project cost). This project has been well vetted through the state-mandated design process and multiple public forums and input sessions as well as Town Meeting. The project is critically important for the long-term success of our town center, providing an anchor for small businesses and for people that desire thriving and walkable small towns. I urge you to support it at the Dec. 9 Special Town Meeting.
— Gary Trendel, Hopkinton