Letter: Bell lays out town's achievements

To the Editor:

As we approach Town Meeting Day, please allow me to make a few comments and a request. My name is Wayne Bell and I have been honored to serve on the Manchester Selectboard for the past 18 years. Although I am running unopposed, I am requesting your vote at the polls on Tuesday, March 6.

I would also like to highlight some of the work of our board especially over the past three years. Serving on the Select Board often puts us in the position of making recommendations and decisions that are not popular with everyone. Sometimes they can become personally costly to our families and friendships. This noted, I am very proud of the work that our Manchester Select Boards have done during my tenure and hope to be able to continue to be part of that work into the foreseeable future.

At the beginning of my current term in 2015, we were making dramatic improvements to the Factory Point Town Green with monies from the Junction Fund including new sidewalks dedicated to our Armed Forces and the foundation for the now (in 2017) completed Beattie Bandstand. As result of a study begun 2015, we completed 2017 agreements with the Manchester Rescue Squad (renamed Northshire Rescue Squad) on dispatch services, leasing space at the Manchester Public Safety Facility, and an equitable regional municipal approach to funding.

In 2015 we received a bicycle and pedestrian grant for Depot Street. We are currently finishing the final design and engineering details for construction in coordination with the state paving project this spring and summer. The first public hearing of a request for the town to acquire an off road recreation path, the old Manchester-Dorset-Granville rail trail, was held in 2015 and now, three years later, that project continues moving forward. As per direction of the previous Town Meeting vote, we have been working with proponents and abutters of the proposed acquisition.

The Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park continues to be the centerpiece of recreation in Manchester and the region. 2017 was the first full year of service for the new fields, Eckhardt Field and McClellan Field. Applejack Stadium has drawn new, and interesting, events to the community including local high school and middle school football, soccer, lacrosse games, and the stadium hosted the second year of NCAA college soccer games.

The town paved a significant number of roadways in 2016, including much of Richville Road, Center Hill Road (through a state grant), the paved portion of Wideawake Road, Deer Meadow, and the parking lot and entrance road to Town Hall. Working alongside the Board of Water Commissioners and the Village, the Town is ready to replace the water main in the Village of Manchester from Seminary Avenue to Taconic Street. Construction is expected to begin in the spring.

Over the course of 2016, the Board drafted and approved seventeen new town ordinances, which replaced older, outdated ordinances. New ordinances ranged in topics from roadways, to dogs and animal control, to public safety, to parks and recreation, to the Factory Point Cemetery. This past year, the Board, along with the Planning Commission, updated the town plan, thereby laying the groundwork for future growth and development in Manchester.

It has been my pleasure to serve the residents of the Town of Manchester, and I look forward to joining my fellow board members in bringing current projects to fruition and facing the challenges that 2018 and the future will certainly bring. Hope to see you at Town Meeting, Saturday March ,3 and at the polls, Tuesday, March 6th.

Wayne E. Bell



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