Selectmen review items on the agenda at their March 4 meeting. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

BETHEL — Selectmen last week unanimously approved an application for an MDOT grant of $8,126 for a Route 2 sidewalk. The money would go toward engineering.

An additional $41,874 for the project will have to be approved by voters at the annual town meeting in June.

The sidewalk would stretch from the Route 2 overpass to the multi-use trail behind the Big Apple on Route 2. It would be 1,500 feet long. The sidewalk would be on the side opposite to Rite Aid.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $250,000. The Maine Department of Transportation currently has programmed more than $32,000 in federal funds for work on the project.

Crosswalks would be part of it.

Selectwoman Lori Swain wondered how the crosswalks would be effective with the lane split and heavy truck traffic coming down from the overpass.

Director of Public Works Scott Sumner said the hope would be to have the sidewalks slow traffic down.

“One of the mentalities was that it makes it more of a residential neighborhood with sidewalks, which tends to slow people down more,” he said.

If the sidewalks are built, they would have to connect to some sort of structure on the other side.

“There has to be something on the other side of the street as well, we can’t crosswalk to nowhere,” Sumner said.

Another challenge of having sidewalks would be maintenance during the winter.

The town has a tough time now keeping the sidewalks clean due to all the snow, officials said.

“We’ll make every attempt to maintain it,” Sumner said.

Other news

Selectmen discussed a WiFi hotspot proposal for the town at their March 4 meeting. The hotspot would be at Davis Park.

A WiFi hotspot is an area with an accessible wireless network, most commonly created for internet access.

Davis Park would is the area the town would put the hotspot. The hotspot would be attached to a telephone pole.

The idea was brought to the town by Mia Purcell, who is Manager of Economic Development at Community Concepts.

Selectmen plan to review the information further and make a decision on the hotspot in April.

Selectmen also unanimously approved a motion to increase the Board of Assessors stipends from $106 per person to $500 a person.

The motion was made by Swain, who felt assessors were not being paid enough.

“I think the assessors need more money than that,” Swain said. “To me looking at this, it’s not in line where it should be. The assessors do a lot of work.”

Selectman Don Bennett abstained from the vote because he serves on the board.

Selectman Andy Whitney was absent.

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