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Cheshire Unsure If It Owns Ramshackle Greylock Road

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The town is also considering how to deal with lack of landscaping maintenance at Cheshire School.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Town officials are not sure what to do with the neglected Greylock Road.
 
Highway Superintendent Blair Crane told the Selectmen on Tuesday that he recently had been asked if the town will maintain the road and asked the board for some guidance. 
 
"It has come up a few times this week and I think we need to give it some thought," he said. "It is not a question we need to answer now but we will need answers."
 
Greylock Road runs north toward Mount Greylock from West Mountain Road, gradually becoming more like a trail that ends at the Jones' Nose Trail Head.
 
Crane said the town currently grades and maintains a mile up the road where there is a residence, but after that point, it gets a little precarious.
 
"There is another half mile that is marginal with a two-wheel drive truck but you get to a point where it gets pretty rough," he said. "I can get up there with my four-wheel drive truck but it gets pretty nasty beyond that."
 
He said he suspects loggers want to use the road to haul timber but the road needs a lot of work to become passable.
 
"It hasn't been maintained for a very long time if ever and it is just gravel and nasty ledge. You probably need 15 truckloads of material up there and we would have to dig some ditches," Crane said. "Years of rain coming down that mountain has taken its toll."
 
He said he thought the town owned the entire road but did not know the details.
 
Town Clerk Christine Emerson said she would have to look through the town archives but thought it was an old county road that the town officially voted to abandon part of years ago. 
 
Emerson said she would find an answer. 
 
In other business, Selectman Edmund St. John IV asked if there was a way to slow down traffic on Wells Road, especially near Dublin Road
 
"Maybe a three-way stop sign?" he said. "I am not sure what the best alternative would be beyond policing." 
 
Resident Sandra Sloane said the speed limit is 40 miles per hour but has witnessed people going over 50 miles per hour. She said she worries about Pine Valley Mobile Home Park residents who often travel by bike or foot.
 
"You hear them screeching their breaks trying to make that corner," she said. "There are a lot of people who live on Dublin Road and I don't think they have automobiles and there is a lot of walking and kids on bikes and people just fly through there."  
 
Crane said adding rumble strips or a stop sign may alleviate some problems but most likely would create a new issue. 
 
"There really is no great solution because when you prevent one problem you cause another," he said. "So if you put stop sign there, and people actually obey the sign, every time they are going to accelerate out of the stop sign and you are going to hear it."   
 
The Selectmen agreed that more police enforcement may be the solution and said they would talk to the department.
 
During Town Administrator Mark Webber's report, he suggested that the town clean up the front of the now closed Cheshire Elementary School.
 
"It is a mess. The plantings are overgrown and full of weeds and the weeds are growing to the front door and through the parking lot," he said. "I don't think it has been touched in at least a year and it is becoming an eyesore." 
 
He said he has concerns about potholes in the parking lot and drop-off circle as well as the island in front of the school.
 
Emerson said the island was a memorial garden planted in the memory of a former teacher.
 
Sloane suggested harnessing volunteers to clean up the school.
 
"There are people coming up to me all the time wanting to know what they can do to help with the school," she said. "It would be better to get volunteers than to spend money."
 
Sloane suggested asking the Cheshire Garden Club or the Berkshire County House of Corrections for assistance. 
 
Crane said it's a much bigger project than just the front of the school and now that the town is responsible for mowing and trimming, he has to figure out how to divvy up his limited resources in the Highway Department. 
 
"You could easily take a half a dozen people over there for a few days to bring it back to where it needs to be and even then, it would be an ongoing issue," he said. "Essentially it boils down to man hours."  
 
He added that although volunteerism may be a big help it may not be a long-term solution.
 
"You don't get much done because you are constantly educating people and it's more difficult than it sounds," he said. "The raw labor is there but the know how isn't and it's tough."
 
Before closing, the board took a moment to remember lifelong Cheshire resident Ralph Biagini, who passed away Saturday at the age of 76. 
 
"I don't think anybody knows what an integral part he has played in this town," Emerson said. "From the day I came into this office, Ralph has posted the warrants and has worked at the elections with me and I consider him a valued friend. I just hope people in town really realize what we have lost."  
 
Biagini was the captain on the Cheshire Police Department for more than 30 years and a member of the Cheshire Fire Department for 50. He also served as a town constable for 30 years and he was a member of the Advisory Board for 12 years.

Tags: cheshire school,   roads,   

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