ELLSWORTH — A new pedestrian pathway could be coming to some of the busiest roads in the city.
In Monday’s city council meeting, Ellsworth officials discussed and later approved asking Maine DOT for a $400,000 grant to begin construction on a new bike and person pathway off of Main Street.
“It fulfills an essential need of our community to walk and bike from their neighborhood to their everyday activities such as going to school or the grocery store. Our residents are already doing this, we see them on busy roads where there are no sidewalks currently or narrow shoulders,” said Jaana Richards, Ellsworth economic development director.
She added in the plan, city officials would also match $100,000 which would be enough to fund Phase 1 which making a sidewalk connecting Birch Avenue to Main Street.
And it would help start Phase 2 of the plan which is making a sidewalk from Main Street to Sunrise Trail.
Some councilors weren’t pleased with asking Maine DOT for grant money to fund this project
“I think it’s a nice idea but the idea these grants always come with strings attached and it’s going to ultimately be costing the taxpayer more money than if we just did it ourselves,” said Michelle Kaplan, Ellsworth city councilor.
Another councilor added to that sentiment saying he didn’t like how to receive the money from Maine DOT, city officials would have to commit to a 20-year maintenance plan.
“It’s an additional $1.1 million dollars over 20 years. If we’re going to do it, I don’t have any problems to do it, we’d be just as intelligent to fund it ourselves and not take the strings that are coming to that,” said John Phillips, Ellsworth city councilor.
However other councilors agreed the project would serve to provide a safe means of biker pedestrian travels, help the city stand out, and would help local businesses out.
“This is cheap dollars that will save lives and improve people’s health,” said Marc Blanchette, Ellsworth city councilor.