Selectmen approve 'Plan B' for playground parking
The Bethel Board of Selectmen has approved a new parking plan for Davis Park.
So called “Plan B” would add roughly a dozen spaces, doubling the parking available at the playground area.
It replaces “Plan A,” which Town Manager Jim Doar had been exploring with Richard Blanco, an engineer who has volunteered time and expertise for the project.
That plan, which would have added only seven spaces, called for moving the start of the pathway back (toward the skatepark) and turning the existing green space into parking.
But after looking into the idea Doar and Blanco concluded that it was neither cost or space effective, primarily because of the slope of the land between the sidewalk and Route 26.
“It's going to take an awful lot of fill to get that up,” Doar told the selectmen last week. “It's going to be a bigger construction project then we thought and we're not going to gain as many spaces as anticipated.”
Plan B, Doar said is to move the fence back where the picnic areas are. “That's open space now, and we'd turn that into two rows of parking, one facing Route 26; the other, the river.”
Board Chair Stan Howe liked the new proposal. “It gives us more parking without spending as much money,” he said.
But Selectman Bob Everett did not see the need for fill as a deal breaker for Plan A.
He noted that the town often has road projects that involve hauling off fill.
“We just had one up on Grover Hill. They hauled off all kinds of stuff somewhere – that could be used perhaps to fill in that particular area and bring it up to grade,” he argued.
Everett said he favored doing both, and Doar said that could be done, but not for the money currently available.
“It's doable,” the town manager repied “But it would have to go through the budget [process].”
Howe noted another point in Plan B's favor: it leave more grass unpaved.
And the grass, he said, “looks better than a parking lot,” especially at a major entry point for the village.
There is no cost estimate yet on the new plan, Doar said, “But it's not going to be expensive. It's something the Public Works crew could do.”
“The biggest issue we're going to have is permitting,” he said. “It might require us to amend our [DEP] site plan.”
Everett eventually joined Howe and Selectman Don Bennett in authorizing Doar to move ahead on Plan B. (Selectmen Jack Cross and Dennis Doyon were absent.)
But , he added: “If you want to do Plan B, let's do Plan B, but let's not give up on Plan A.”