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Neighbors Seek Commitment To Repair Road

Windsor Is Haggling With FEMA Over Cost to Fix Brook Road

Windsor — At a meeting in the visitors’ center Tuesday night, residents affected by the washouts on Brook Road caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 urged Town Manager Tom Marsh to use whatever money the town receives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair the road.

“Our neighborhood has lost a street,” said Lauren Ferris, of Hewett Road, which runs off Brook Road at a location between two washed out sections. “I want you to know how passionate we are. We believe that part of our neighborhood needs to be fixed.”

Kamron Clifford, of Estey Lane, another road located between the two washouts, said she does not want to continue living in the neighborhood if Brook Road is not fixed.

“It looks ugly and it has hurt property values,” Clifford said.

Two sections of the road and a small bridge that were washed away during the August 2011 storm have not been repaired because the town and FEMA are far apart on the cost estimates, Marsh told the audience of about two dozen.

In a slide presentation, Marsh explained in detail the lengthy process he has gone through with FEMA since shortly after the storm. While FEMA has agreed to pay more for the project than it orginally offered, it still leaves a gap of nearly $1.7 million. The estimate to repair the road and remove and replace the bridge is $3.52 million.

“This has been an issue of the gap,” said Marsh.

Marsh was sympathetic to the residents affected by the damage but said as town manager he is responsible for considering the needs of the entire community.

If FEMA does not give the town enough money to repair Brook Road, there has been some discussion on using the money for approved alternative projects and one possibility is more repair work on the dam on Kennedy Pond.

Marsh said when the final figures are given to the town by FEMA on May 20, the Selectboard would decide the next step.

“If we get $3.5 million, I expect a vote to put it (the work to repair Brook Road) out to bid,” Marsh said.

If the FEMA number remains far below the engineering estimates, the difference would have to be voted on by the town as a bond, Marsh said.

Several residents objected to using any of the money for other capital projects besides Brook Road, whether it is the dam, road repairs or the purchase of equipment.

“Whatever you get, do as much as you can do,” said resident Bill Yates.

A petition was presented at the meeting with 22 signatures asking the town to repair Brook Road.

Estey Lane resident George Funk said people in West Windsor don’t want the road rebuilt, and he has heard from some who live on Brook Road who feel the same way.

That viewpoint was in the minority at the meeting, however.

Debbie Estey lives on Brook Road just past the washed out bridge. In order to get to downtown Windsor, she has to travel to Brownsville to Route 44.

“Please rebuild Brook Road in its entirety,” Estey said to applause.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.