THOMASTON — The Board of Selectmen, meeting on Tuesday, October 1, discussed appointments of members, a bridge rehabilitation project, a resident’s concern and hosted an executive session to continue legal discussion of Nystrom’s Park with town attorneys.
The Board of Selectmen reappointed Kristin Mosimann as a member of the historical commission and appointed Stacey Sefcik as the town’s representative to the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments Regional Planning Commission.
The board briefly discussed a previous meeting about a state project to rehabilitate a bridge carrying Route 8 over Reynolds Bridge Road in town.
According to First Selectman Ed Mone, the meeting consisted of members of the community from different departments including the Department of Transportation, Police Chief Jeffrey Madden and Highway Superintendent Glenn Clark. Mr. Clark also acted as deputy fire chief in this particular case.
The project meeting discussed the road itself, safety equipment and rerouting of traffic specifically for school buses.
According to a letter about the project description, “Bridge Design is proposing to replace the bridge superstructure in stages while maintaining a single 12-foot lane of traffic on the above roadway throughout construction.”
The Board of Selectmen next made a motion to amend the agenda to invite two women to discuss an issue in town.
New resident in town Stephanie Hurley explained that her nine-year-old daughter walks to school and people are not stopping at the crosswalk in front of Thomaston Center School across from High Street. This seems to be happening every day.
“This morning, there was a cop there and he tried flagging the car down and they wouldn’t stop,” said Ms. Hurley. “He followed them and gave them a ticket.” She explained that since school has started, there have only been a few times that police officers have been there.
Ms. Hurley has created a petition and many people seem to want to establish a crossing guard. She explained that she called the bus company because a bus went through the crosswalk without stopping.
Carla Turra, the grandmother of the child, said “I come all the way from Canton to walk my granddaughter.” She explains that another dangerous issue is that there are times when cars are idling along the curb or near the crosswalk to drop off their children and it requires that other children walk around them.
“Just kind of hoping something can be done about it,” said Ms. Hurley.
Mr. Mone explained that there is currently a variety of signage at the crosswalk including two flashing signs that are near the crosswalk and crosswalk signs that have been recently repainted.
Ms. Turra proposed an idea of signage in the middle of the road for pedestrians. Selectman Bruce Barrett, Sr., and Mr. Mone explained that these used to exist in town, specifically Main Street, but they have been damaged and have not been replaced.
The critical period is both in the morning and afternoon. Ms. Turra explains that she has many videos of people not stopping for the crosswalk.
“It’s not just the kids going to school but it is people going up and down Main Street,” said Mr. Barrett.
Mr. Barrett proposed the idea to put another sign in the middle of the road like the one that was previously there. Mr. Mone agreed that more signage can be ordered, but will have to be removed in winter for snow plowing.
“Please understand, we have simply never employed crossing guards in the town of Thomaston,” said Mr. Mone. An idea was proposed about having parent volunteers as crossing guards, but the board explained that although the offer is appreciated, there are many possible dangers and risks that could arise.
Selectman Roger Perreault explained that although the town has a sizable police department, and when they are free they help with the crosswalks, there are not enough police officers to commit to being crossing guards every day. He ensured that more signage will be installed to help eliminate the problem.
Mr. Mone said another problem with a crossing guard would be that there would be multiple areas that would need crossing guards.
Regarding the bus companies that are not complying with the crosswalk, Mr. Mone said, “If it’s the bus company, certainly through the education department, we will make them aware that there’s concerns of traveling unsafely around the school areas or anywhere in town for that matter.”
Ms. Hurley explained that when she called the bus company, the driver that went through the crosswalk did not do it again.
Mr. Mone explained that there are options for communication to make residents more aware like the local newspaper, the town website and social media.
The education department can communicate to the town population that the speed limits and crosswalks need to be complied with for overall safety. Superintendent of Schools Francine Coss explained that she will issue a communication regarding the issue.
The police department is being asked to be aware of the issue while patrolling the school.
“We will create greater awareness and see if we can alleviate the problem,” said Mr. Mone.
The meeting ended with an executive session that continued legal discussion of Nystrom’s Park with town attorneys Michael D. Rybak and Michael D. Rybak, Jr.
No motions were made, but attorneys were told to continue to pursue the course of action and pursue the bond and/or settlement with the contractor involved.