I am writing to comment on the process related to the issue of the Upper Charles Trail connection in Hopkinton to the Milford section. I listened with great interest to the informative presentation by Peter LaGoy, co-chair of the Trails Club, at the Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) meeting on Jan. 19. He presented the Hopkinton Trails Club’s proposed alternative route to the one under consideration by the UCTC.
As a walker, I am of the opinion that the Trails Club route is much more in line with the recreational uses of town residents. As pointed out in the presentation, we want to walk and bike in the woods, not use a trail for transportation. We want an alternative to walking on roads and sidewalks.
Listening to the discussion, I would like to know if the UCTC is truly open to consideration of this alternative. Are all members committed to the original proposal? The chair stated that the committee was in favor of [its own] route, but I noted comments from some members that they either supported the Trails Club route or thought it a good idea to consider.
I would suggest that a great deal more community input is needed before proceeding. I hope that there is an opportunity for community input at your next meeting. The larger issues of desired use, on road or through woods, huge cost differentials, type of surface, etc., should be discussed. Unfortunately, Peter was peppered with details such as the location of the bridge across Route 85. The larger picture needs to be kept in view and agreement is needed to gather information on the overall route, purposes, safety and costs of both routes before a recommendation is made.
And the UCTC must be willing to listen to the residents and truly consider the alternative and not be wedded to their original proposal. The School Committee has already voted [not to support] it. Where do individual members stand, and are they speaking their views?
I would hope that this issue could be discussed at Town Meeting and that no vote be taken prematurely on appropriation of Community Preservation Act funds for high-priced consulting.
I, for one, do not want my tax money to be spent on this current UCTC proposal without further discussion. I hope the committee is sincerely open to discussing alternatives so that the best proposal moves forward for the benefit of the town.
— Judith Weinthaler, Hopkinton
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