I was not able to attend this week’s meeting in Newry but wanted to voice my opinion on the Scenic Byway.
I have lived full time in Newry for three years, owned our property for six years, so for many I am still an outsider. I am from Maine, I pay taxes, I am a resident.
I am amazed at the opposition to the Byway. It appears that most of those comments are that they don’t want anyone telling them what to do with their property. I understand to a degree, but having come from the southern end of the state, I realize that having no regulations can also be detrimental. Last year I spoke with a woman that was against a conservation commission (one that would have been advisory only), but on the other hand had complaints about the smell of the asphalt plant. My feeling is you can’t have it both ways. In this case people want their roads to be kept up yet don’t want a scenic byway which would give you a better road. I was told by our local state representative, last year, that if the byway was approved Route 26 (Bear River Road) would be built to the standards of Route 2. This would mean our roads would not be destroyed by truck traffic because it would have a better base.
I think you have to look at this question from a point view of what would you get that would be better rather than what you have now. Patch and re-patch not the answer! What is better for everyone is a road that is built better and would sustain more cars and, yes, trucks year round without possible road closure. Roads built to a higher standard would be better economically for all.
Additionally, Route 26 is a main road connecting Maine and New Hampshire and a main road bringing Canadians into the state. This is income for small stores, gas stations, hotels, eating establishments, etc., in the area. While many may not think this is important, having more dollars come into this area is vital. The condition of the road now is not only uninviting, but in many cases, dangerous! The road is costly to those of us that travel it daily in the form of auto repairs.
I believe that if the Scenic Byway were approved we would have more tourists spending more money locally, as it is a beautiful drive between Route 2 and Route 16 and we would improve the safety of the road. Currently we have patch and re-patch, which come winter will be dug up by snowplows and broken off into shards by trucks. We already have shards along the road making it hazardous for a biker trying to pull over for cars and trucks. Recently a friend nearly met their maker when a trucker, trying to avoid the edge of the road and the crown of the road, moved over into the their lane. They, as well as the trucker had to pull hard and quickly off the edge of the road to avoid the collision. So my question for all of you that don’t want to be told what you can do with your property and/or just don’t want the Byway, is the loss of a life worth it? Is added money from tourism not wanted?
I urge those of you that are undecided to vote yes on Aug. 20, to keep open the prospect of a Scenic Byway and for those of you that think only bad can come for it, please take ALL things into consideration before you say no to something that could be a plus for us all.