Mechanic Falls clarifies road responsibilities

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MECHANIC FALLS – The town council Tuesday night told Timber Lane residents that since their road is private the town is not responsible for maintaining it.

Town Manager John Hawley said the fact that the council agreed last spring to help Timber Lane residents to get their dirt road into decent shape seems to have left a cloud of confusion regarding the town’s long-term responsibilities.

Hawley noted that last spring, after Ray and Jennifer Lavoie signed the road over to the homeowners’ association and an easement was established allowing the public to use it, the nine to 10 homeowners raised $4,000 and asked the town to fix it up.

According to Hawley, the town put in several culverts and ditched and graded the road.

Timber Lane which, Hawley said, was built in the 1980s, was not built to town standards and was not accepted as a town road.

Councilman Roger Guptill said he thought the intent was to fix the road so the town might safely plow and sand it in the winter.

“I didn’t think we were to take the road over,” Guptill said.

Resident Tom Kuklinski said he got the impression that the town would provide a minimal amount of help on a continuing basis.

“The road’s getting pretty rutted up. Anything the town could do would be appreciated,” Kuklinski said.

Councilman Marchian Crane, who said he owns property on a private road in another town, noted that in general homeowners on private roads are responsible for everything to do with the road, including plowing.

While the council unanimously rejected becoming involved in ongoing maintenance, it did agree to plow and sand Timber Lane.

Police Chief Jeffrey Goss publicly commended Patrolman Timothy Gamache for his work with the youth of Mechanic Falls.

Goss noted that Gamache began playing basketball last spring with a group of six kids. The group has grown to about 26 as Gamache and his wife, Tammy, have given of their personal time to mentor and encourage several youths.

Hawley also reported that the town received a $59,000 firefighters’ grant. The money will be used to purchase a dozen sets of gear, and exhaust evacuation system for the fire station and an industrial-sized washer to clean firefighters’ gear.

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