In an opinion piece published by the Daily News recently, resident Harry Bowen addressed the issue of cost to the residents for returning the easement to the abutters. Bowen wrote that “one professional estimate of the cost to the town for completing all of the abutters’ requests is between $400,000 and $500,000.”
In an email Pinciaro stated that the cost to the town would be minimal. The property owners have decided to leave the asphalt, and the DPW will remove the guard rails and cleaning up the area, he wrote.
The sale of the metal will offset in-house costs, Pinciaro said, and there are no hazardous wastes on site.
“The drainage swales will be left alone; no work is anticipated,” he wrote. “Any walls or fence/gate the property owner want, outside of the fencing the town is constructing for safety and liability reasons (estimated at $4,000-plus) is at their expense.”
Property owners will not get tax abatements, he added.
“Property owners originally wanted to have it returned to a roadway but they have come to agree that this is not realistic. Over the past few months they have worked with the selectmen,” Pinciaro said.
The Save River Road initiative is calling for a return of the road to a “pristine and beautiful roadway” that has a historic value endemic to the identity of Merrimac. A Facebook page was launched in July and named Merrimac Informational Support-MIS has acquired 115 “likes.”
In a posting on the page on Oct. 7, one resident described the roadway “as an asset to the town [that is] invaluable, historically, economically, recreationally but even more so as a source of identity, reflecting how e choose to treat the things we own.”
“It speaks volumes about us as a town, our nature, culture and resolve. How we envision opportunity, our commitment to doing our part to maintain the continuity of the regions scenic trails and showing how we care about the quality of life of surrounding communities as well by being an active partner in the thriving revitalization of natural resources throughout the region.”