Sunderland revitalization projects await hoped-for funding

  • The Sunderland town offices on School Street. Recorder file photo

For the Bulletin
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

SUNDERLAND — Town officials have big plans in the works to revitalize town streets.

A plan outlining 18 potential construction projects to revitalize roads and walkways was approved April 6 by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said Town Administrator Sherry Patch — opening up the possibility for up to $400,000 in state grants.

The revitalization plan was created through the Complete Streets Funding Program, a state initiative to free up money for road construction.

Notable projects include a 705-foot bicycle and pedestrian pathway on South Main Street, estimated at $55,000. It could connect to a continuing pathway on North Main Street.

Another project calls for new sidewalk and bike lanes on the east side of South Silver Lane, estimated between $205,000 and $182,000.

Elsewhere, the plan envisions updated lighting and sidewalks along School Street, connecting the library to the Connecticut River boat ramp, and a new sidewalk.

Throughout town, bike lanes, sidewalks and improved pedestrian infrastructure have been proposed on Old Amherst Road, Hadley Road, Falls Road and Plumtree Road, among other streets.

“There’s some lighting improvements, sidewalk improvements, wheelchair ramps — the goal of the complete streets program is ‘accessible options for all roads of travel,’” Patch said.

Assuming the town receives the money, Patch said the difficult part will be choosing which projects to fund. In total, it would cost about $1.5 million to undertake all of the projects, Patch estimated.

Town officials intend to pursue other grant opportunities, and might ask residents to help through Community Preservation Act funds.

Patch said many of the projects tie in to other projects elsewhere, including a senior development on North Main Street, a proposed park behind the Town Office — which has been proposed by the Pathways Committee — and plans to upgrade the library’s lawn into a community space.

At Town Meeting this year, officials intend to ask residents for $20,874 to upgrade the library, and $100,000 to move forward with the affordable housing project, Patch said.