The Irish Neighborhood road the day after a snowstorm. Pictured here is the bridge snowmobiles cross over. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

GREENWOOD — Several residents of the Irish Neighborhood Road expressed their frustration with its deteriorating condition at a February 4 select board meeting.

Resident Chet Herrick brought an iPad that had photos of the road’s current condition.

“I’m very irritated, it’s disrespectful, we pay our taxes and we have not had anything done to our road,” Herrick said.

He said he made an arrangement with selectmen in the early 2000s under which he would help maintain the sides of the road and clean out the ditches and in return, the town would pave the road. He noted that there was a handshake between him and a town official on the arrangement, but never anything in writing. In the past, Herrick also said he has cleaned up debris in the road when the town has been unable to get there in a timely manner.

Town Manager Kim Sparks said she was unaware of any arrangement when she took over as manager in June 2004. She added that the arrangement is not on record anywhere.

Herrick said he and two of his employees have had their oil pans detach while driving on the road.

“I have had around $6,000 in car repairs,” resident Francine Harrison added.

Resident Vivian Berlinghoff said rebar is currently jutting out of the bridge, near the beginning of the road. Snowmobiles also cross there, which resident Becky Secrest said has caused some damage also.

Berlinghoff said that the heavy logging traffic has likely had impact on the road, too.

Secrest wondered if other town roads this year would be taking precedence over the Irish Neighborhood.

Highway Foreman Alan Seames said the amount of work that can be done will depend on how much money the town wants to appropriate. The town paved sections of the Howe Hill Road last year, which cost $100,000, according to Seames.

Secrest said that the road’s unevenness makes it difficult to plow effectively and that in the spring, sand washes back into the road because there is no crown.

The town received a bond for $750,000 in 2016 and is due for another one next year, hopefully for the same amount, according to Sparks. The 2016 bond went toward improvements on the Richardson Hollow, Hayes Hill, Patch Mountain and Rowe Hill Roads. The town did not have enough funds to finish work on Rowe Hill. Sparks said if there had been leftover money from the bond, the Irish Neighborhood road would’ve been improved after Rowe Hill work was complete.

Selectwoman Amy Chapman said if the cost of repairs exceeds $800,000, work will need to be done in phases.

Though the Irish Neighborhood Road is Greenwood property, Bethel is responsible for its winter maintenance. Greenwood maintains the Bethel section of Bird Hill Road in the winter in return.

Other business 

Selectmen reviewed a letter from resident Dwight Mills about beaver dams blocking up the passage between Round and North Ponds. Beavers built dams near the bridge several times this summer, despite having their homes taken down each time by the town and private citizens. Sparks said the Maine Department of Transportation also dismantled dams, but that the beavers quickly rebuilt their homes.  So far a few of the beavers have been trapped and relocated.

A budget meeting is scheduled for March 10 at 6 p.m. at the Greenwood Town Office.

Selectmen will meet next on Tuesday, February 18 at 5 p.m. at the GTO.



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