Rumford board discusses Congress Street trees, winter parking ban

RUMFORD — Selectmen decided to make plans to remove the trees on lower Congress Street, citing root damage to the sidewalks and sewers at the board's meeting Thursday night.

Matthew Daigle/Sun Journal

Rumford selectmen said they would begin making plans on when to remove some of the trees, such as the one above, on lower Congress Street.

The town has plans to replace some of the sidewalks along Congress Street next year. If the trees were to stay, their roots would damage the sidewalks again. Selectman Jeffrey Sterling said that the town should act quickly in dealing with the trees because of the cost of replacing the sidewalks and maintenance.

The town plans to replace the trees, which were planted in 1981.

Selectmen also moved to pass an ordinance that would allow the town to vary the start of the winter parking ban. According to Town Manager Carlo Puiia, the winter parking ban in Rumford normally begins Nov. 1. The ordinance would allow the ban to begin Dec. 1, or on the first winter storm event, whichever comes first.

In other business, the selectmen unanimously voted to eliminate night-time voter registration hours that are required by a town ordinance. The issue was revisited Thursday night after it was tabled last week until more information could be provided.

Town Clerk Beth Bellegarde said, "Nobody's ever asked about night-time registration hours, and nobody's ever called and told us, 'I can't make it over in time before you close.'" She said that most towns have a similar ordinance, but law allows towns to adjust hours according to their needs.

Puiia agreed, saying that "leaving one person in the building at night, by themselves, could be problematic."

Resident Peggy Hanley also spoke to the selectmen about providing jersey barriers at the rotary to warn cars to slow down. Hanley mentioned that the potential for an accident is high, because the sidewalk around the rotary is nearly level with the road, and that the winter season could lead to cars sliding off the road and onto the sidewalk.

Board Chairman Gregory Buccina was receptive to the idea. Hanley's point was "very valid," he said. There may be an "opportunity for an accident, especially with tractor-trailer trucks coming around the corner," he said.

Buccina later said that "it won't be done tomorrow," but that they "will move forward with it."

The atmosphere of the meeting became light-hearted after Sterling suggested that the board get involved in the pumpkin carving contest at the Pumpkin Fest on Saturday by having the selectmen carve their own pumpkins.

"As we all know, when you carve a pumpkin, it's called a jack-o-lantern," Sterling said. "And I think the board should submit their own pumpkin. My first thought was a Carl-o-lantern," referring to Puiia's first name and drawing laughter from those in attendance.

Sterling then informed the board and the residents that Selectman Bradford Adley's birthday was approaching and, as a gift, lifted a pumpkin from under the table with a photo of Adley's face pasted on the front. Adley laughed and said, "I don't even have to be here now," and placed the pumpkin beside him.

"Does this mean I get two votes now?" Adley asked the other selectmen with a smile on his face.

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Comments

Only Lower

This Board with the help of Town foreman are all way out of whack. They all should come down. But I guess the damage these trees are doing will continue to grow and damage more. But that's right this Board is not known to be smart when it comes to doing what needs to be done completely. Besides that they don't run this town . The department heads do.

Tony Capola's picture

Congress Street Trees

Thank you Paul Bunyon...
Are you looking for more trees to cut-down? Isn't this street bare enough for you? You must be in withdrawal given that it's been several years since the last tree removal event.
What would this town be without you making your anti-selectpersons comments.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not a 'fan' of the Public Works Superintendent. He should have been removed years ago.

Tony from Brick park I presume!

No, I'm not in any form of withdrawal. Those trees have been damaging our streets downtown for years. And will continue to do so. Trees are nice but not when they start becoming destructive and costing the town extra moneys to repair. Do you have the monies to keep repairing the sidewalks when the trees continually grow and damage our sidewalks. If you do then we'll keep repairing and send you the bill to pay. Your can have dwarf trees but place them in large concrete planters and maintain them properly for long life. But before doing that we need to get rid of the concrete from one end the the other with different alternative for easier maintenace and cost effectiveness. Besides that Tony, back off. You helped destroy my uncle so now you want to work on another family member. Not advisable!

Tony Capola's picture

Trees

No, I do not live in or near the Brick Park; not that this matters. I don't know your Uncle and haven't a clue about your presumption.

My main point now and in the past has been that you weaken your postion on any matter when you elect to villify the Select Board. Why should they consider your position on anything when to include personal attacks.

Excuse Me Tony

Mixed you up with someone else. But this back and forth via this venue is not called for. I will be at Dunkin Donut on the 29th at 9am. If you want to discuss further, see you there.

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