What’s the Londonderry Rail Trail Warrant Article #14 all about?

Let’s begin by saying something about Londonderry Trailways.  Londonderry Trailways is a nonprofit volunteer organization that works to establish and maintain recreational trails in town.   This is the organization that is responsible for the construction of the walking path connecting the Middle School to Moose Hill School.  Last summer the organization secured the rights to the abandoned Manchester-Lawrence railway corridor for the Town.  It is a 6.4 mile section of corridor that is being turned into a recreational path.  The Londonderry trail will eventually connect with the Derry and Windham rail trails.

To make the trail accessible to everyone in town it needs to be paved.  The flat surface will allow parents to push strollers and Seniors to walk with sure footing.  No one will need to be concern for passing traffic. This recreational trail will be a four-season asset for the community where children will ride bicycles and friends and neighbors can take a walk.

Volunteers have cleared the trail and Trailways has paid for grading, and the engineering fees.  Now it is time to pave a one-mile section of trail which will run from the North School parking lot to the Exit 5 Park and Ride parking lot.  Unfortunately there are no federal or state monies available.  Last spring citizens at the planning sessions for the Master Plan made it clear that they wanted safe walk able trails so Trailways put forth a warrant article to pave a one-mile section.  The cost is $21 dollars for a $300,000 dollar home.  That’s not a bad price when compared to a tank of gas to drive elsewhere for recreational fun.  In other towns where a rail trail exists property values have increased.

The paving process could begin quite soon if the Warrant article passes.  The rail trail needs your support on Tuesday, March 12th.  A yes vote will give everyone in Town a new recreational asset.

Submitted by PollyAnn Winslow

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  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

    Is there a reason why we can’t get private landscaping and paving companies to donate materials and labor to do this? We could allow them to place an advertisement on the section of trail that they donate to. Everybody wants their pet project subsidized by the taxpayers. It doesn’t matter that it’s only $21 per $300,000 home. That’s not the point, despite the fact that many little warrant articles add up to a lot.

  2. +11 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

    This is just the beginning. $300k for 1 mile. Factor it out for the full 6.4 miles. That comes to a total of $1.9 MILLION just for the paving. Instead of it being $21 per $300k valued house, it’s really $134.00 in todays dollars. It will be more in the future years. You don’t really think that this is the only request do you? Add up all of these “It’s only X dollars, it’s not that much” warrant articles for just the last 10 years, and you’ll see that we are slowly being bled to death. I think I could find better ways to spend MY $134. Plus they proudly talk about the “walking path” (most places call it a sidewalk), in front of the schools. This “path” was promoted as being a “seasonal path”. One that wouldn’t be used in the winter. So shortly after it’s constructed these same folks are back to the council to buy equipment and pay for labor to maintain it in the winter. I wonder how the Feds would react to the town violating their application for funds on that one. Will they then be back to the council for funds to either plow the trail in the winter or groom it for xcountry skiing? Will the police have to buy a snowmobile to patrol it? Don’t be fooled by the it’s only $21 line. It’s NEVER ONLY.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Daniel Collins

    When I think of nature, I do not think of it being paved. Was there any thought to just flattening and hardening the dirt for the path? Less costly maintenance.

    1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Chesterh

      I would rather see a hard-packed surface like stone dust. It’s less jarring to walk or run on for people and pets, and it has to be less expensive.

  4. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Saur

    Just to clarify a few points raised:

    There was no violation of the Federal grant rules in terms of plowing the school pathway. The grant only spoke to not requiring that the trail be plowed, but allowed it if the town decided to plow it. The school district plows the section of the pathway from LMS to LHS.

    The police chief has said, at a Town Council meeting, that they do not see the Rail Trail as adding to their equipment needs and that they can patrol the facility using existing equipment and staff.

    Trailways already owns a ski-mobile and cross country ski groomer which is used to groom the Adams Pond trail every winter. The operating and staffing costs for that groomer are privately funded through donations.

    Bob Saur

  5. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Linda

    This is ridiculous! Red is right, get creative and sell advertisements. You can place advertisement on park benches, on trash cans and even on the path itself. I’m tired of being asked for money. So many of us are struggling and we’re being asked to give just a little more for something as non-essential as this. I wish I could go to the tax payers every time I want to improve my house.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mac

      Wouldn’t the town do a service to itself by looking at how other towns have funded things. Look at Benson’s for instance. I know there is a lot of donation money and volunteer work going in to that place.

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

    Londonderry needs to vote this down and vote out every council member that supported this. These people are tone deaf to how so many people are struggling in this economy.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

      I am not so sure I’d put too much on the council member who may have supported it, as it is still up to the majority in town to vote yes or no. I certainly hope enough voters go to the polls to vote no on this issue. It is time to stop wasting tax dollars at every level of government.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

      Ken, the reason I blame the council members is because they voted to put this on the ballot. This should never have come this far. We now have to hope enough people show up on Tuesday to vote this down.

      I’m beginning to suspect that we have tax-and-spend Democrats sitting on the council of this Republican town. Perhaps it’s time to get rid of the silly non-partisan ballot and require local candidates to identify who they affiliate with polically so we can better see who we’re voting for. Not knowing who we are placing in government jobs is how we get the word “Progressive” placed in the job description for town manager.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Larry

        Red: This is a citizens’ petition. The Council did not put this on the ballot. It must go on the ballot by NH state law. The Council has no say. If you’re mad that citizens’ petitions make it to the ballot, then contact many of the L’Derry republican state reps to change the state law.

        1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

          Larry, the appropriation of town funds for purely charitable donation is not permitted by law. The council could have made an argument that this citizen’s petition was illegal and not allowed it to go forward. Judging by the council’s recommendation of 3-2, it’s obvious that a majority of the council thought this was a grand idea. Three voted to support it, one only voted against it because he was already supporting a different tax increase and the fifth council member didn’t vote. This council does not appear to hesitate to have struggling taxpayers pay for pork projects.

          1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Larry

            What law are you siting? The town every year appropriates money to several charitable oranizations like the Red Cross, etc. While not being a big fan of this, I don’t believe it’s against the law. Also, this rail trail is considered a town recreational asset. Not meaning to argue, just trying to be accurate. I will also be voting No on this article 14, but would rather people not support it (or support it) based on the facts.

          2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

            Larry, the New Hampshire local government center has an interesting article called, “What Do We Do with ‘Illegal’ Warrant Articles?” There is also a legal brief called, “Plowing Private Roads, Driveways and Class VI Roads”. The links are below.

            http://www.nhlgc.org/publications/item_detail.asp?TCArticleID=48

            http://www.nhlgc.org/attachments/services/legal/LegalBriefs_plowing_private_roads.pdf

            I could argue that this trail is like a class VI road because it hasn’t been maintained by the state in 5 successive years. We already have a trail so I could ask, who does this PAVED trail really benefit? I’m not a lawyer and I’m not pretending to be one. I’m going by what I read. I’m not trying to be dishonest nor did I suggest that people not support this because it may be illegal. The point I was trying to make was that the council didn’t even try to make a argument to stop this. Most of them went right along. That was an eye-opener for me. This is a moot point anyway since this ridiculous thing passed by less than 100 votes. Who knows, maybe next we’ll be asked to build a roof over the trail so people can take walks in the rain and not get wet.

  7. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Rimol

    Dan & Chester, Let me answer your question about the paving. It has been agreed upon by many people both inside the town and outside the town that the best approach to the Rail Trail is to pave it from Concord south to Salem. This is due to the high amount of traffic and population in Southern New Hampshire. However, most importantly, the pavement will allow people with disabilities, parents with strollers, and other less able people to easily walk on the trail. The Trail will meet ADA requirements which means it will not discriminate against anyone.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

      So we are being asked to pay for a “politically correct” trail? If people want to build a trail that everyone can use then that’s wonderful but this is NOT a necessary expense for Londonderry. It’s offensive to ask taxpayers to pay for this when so many are struggling financially. Perhaps those “many people that agreed” should pay for this themselves or raise the money.

    2. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Steve

      Who is going to repair and replace the paving when it cracks and gets pot holes? Just like the walkway that was presented to the town years ago things were left out so it would pass. Things like maintenance such as repairing cracks and pot holes or plowing. Now the school district which is our tax dollars as well plows it. Show me a true cost of this project not just the cost of putting it in. What will the maintenance cost down the road? More cost that will be passed on to the taxpayer.

  8. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Dave Ballum

    This should be built and maintained through private funds. I’m paying enough in taxes!

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

      This is what happens when not enough people show up for town meetings. Some people take advantage of the fact that most of us are distracted with our lives and with work and are not paying attention. They then slip garbage like this in and by the time most people realize it, it’s too late. I too am guilty of being distracted, but not any more.

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Steve

    Dave this is just one of many warrant articles that will drive your taxes up. On the school side we have a warrant article for a ski team. Doesn’t look like much money but neither did the hockey team warrant articles years ago and check out the cost of ice time, busing, equipment all that has been added to the budget in the past years. How about another Police Officer warrant article on the town warrant. Yes I say police officer because they have just tried to be political by calling it a school resource officer. The cost is over 101,000 for the first year, the following year add the increase to medical, retirement, union contract raise and your up over 105,000 and it will continue to go up each year. Don’t be fooled the article says or part time and the Police Chief stated he is NOT hiring part time. How many times has the school resource officer working a road detail in the past while school was in session. Working a road detail is not being in the school protecting the children.

  10. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin Srugis

    How many of you who are complaining about this added, non-essential costs will show up at town elections next week? Next Tuesday to be exact.
    How many of you voted at last years election?
    We are where we are because too many of you don’t show up at election time always giving some kind of excuse.
    Vote and make changes, don’t make excuses!
    Get you neighbors and friends to show up at these meetings and elections. Red is right we are slowly being bled to poverty or having to move out like many elderly in town have to do.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

      I will be there.

  11. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

    I am glad this trail doesn’t run behind my home. Easy in, easy out, going un-noticed by the general public and police on the streets, quietly making runs between Salem and Manchester.

  12. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Lynn Wiles

    I’m voting yes for the rail trail. It is a wonderful asset to have, and improving it will make it usable for everyone. Just one more example of why Londonderry is such a great place to live.

  13. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Linda

    I’m voting NO on the trail. One of the things that makes Londonderry a great place to live is being able to afford to live here, not some silly yellow brick road.

  14. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin Srugis

    Can someone from Rail Trail folks give us a break down of the $227,000?
    What is that buying us> How much dirt, asphalt, signage etc.
    This seems a high cost for a one mile paved road. I like the idea of a trail, but given four pluse years of no raisies, I can’t afford this even at $21/300,000 house value.
    Londonderry is rapidly turning into a “beautiful people” town and has no regard for those who can’t afford every wish.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

      I don’t think it is even as wide as a road. Maybe 1/2. I’ll bet there isn’t even a firm estimate, just a SWAG.

  15. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

    Please vote NO on Article #14 tomorrow.
    Vote NO on pork projects.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

      I am voting no on all spending items, even the “Executives” union contract. Between the 2% tax increase ( Yes steve, it was an increase. Calling it the end of a temporary cut is like calling my ten year old dag a puppy. A different name doesn’t change what it actually is, and that was an increase ) the increase in my health care costs this year, the increase in gas and heating oil, and the increase in my food costs, I don’t need any my property taxes going up as well.

      And as every good Democrat would say, vote early, vote often.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Red Forman

        I’m very disappointed that Londonderry Trailways is allowed to electioneer in the lobby of the polling place. And yes, “simply displaying information” at the polling place while you have an item on the ballot is electioneering. I don’t believe a candidate for office would be allowed to “simply display information” in the lobby.

        1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

          They can walk into the booth with me. I am still voting no.

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