And now for something completely different – let’s talk roadway improvement that is slated to bring economic development to Mattapoisett. That’s what was discussed and taped on March 18 when Highway Superintendent Barry Denham, Town Administrator Mike Lorenco, and former Town Administrator Mike Gagne gave their presentation at Town Hall, albeit to an empty room.
Due to the necessity of closing Town Hall to the public, the team involved in spearheading improvements to Industrial Drive were videotaped in the Town Hall conference room. The presentation was another opportunity for Gagne to discuss a project he had been at the helm of for nearly two years. He once again took the spotlight to share with the townspeople the good news that the project would be moving forward and how it will progress.
First and foremost, Gagne discussed why the project was necessary. He discussed drainage issues along Industrial Drive that impact downstream water quality. Regarding the economic opportunity the project will bring, Gagne explained that land currently segregated for septic systems could now be developed as usable space. The public sewer-system extension from the Bay Club subdivision would allow property owners to tie into the system, freeing up additional areas for business development and building expansions, he said.
Returning to the issue of the roadway itself, Gagne and Denham discussed modest redesigns to the Industrial Drive layout that will make it safer for vehicles and pedestrians while also protecting some of the wetland features along the way.
Gagne said that the $735,000 grant received from the U.S. Economic Administration will be matched by the town as agreed during the October town meeting and January special town meeting, bringing the total currently available for the project to $1.470-million.
Denham and Gagne also discussed the shared-use path commonly known as the bike path. They said that preliminary plans are underway for Phase 2a of the bike path that would transverse Route 6 from Depot Street and end at North Street near the park-and-ride parking lot. They briefly shared conceptual designs for crossing North Street and entering the business park on Industrial Drive.
Planned upgrades to Industrial Drive will not fund the shared-use path, Gagne said, but was quick to add that additional grants are being sought for that work. The design upgrades to the roadway, however, will make space for a dedicated pedestrian lane in the future, he said.
Denham said he had originally become involved with the project as he worked with teams developing plans for the bike path. “I got involved because the bike path is going to add a lot to the town. Grant money will allow safe crossings and modern drainage, which is an important part of the project… it’s a coordinated effort to build the road once and build it to last.”
Lorenco stated that he believed the project was an important part of the town’s economic growth, while providing new and additional recreation areas, that, “…improves life for all.”
Although the presentation was not aired to a direct public, the team said comments and questions are encouraged. Visit the town’s website (www.mattapoisett.net) or call 508-758-4100 extension 4 to provide your input. Work is planned to commence on Industrial Drive this spring.
By Marilou Newell