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Forest Road excavation coming soon

Town’s sand and gravel source is considered an ‘eyesore’ by some residents

  • The entrance to the Forest road property has been posted, the Greenfield highway department will begin to excavate gravel and sand from the 23 acre plot beginning April 14.
  • Forest road excavation site in Greenfield

GREENFIELD — The Highway Department will again be excavating land on Forest Road next to Greenvale Cemetery for collection of sand and gravel for the town, beginning on Monday.

The 23-acre excavation site has been controversial since 2013, when voters at Town Meeting first approved excavation. Nearby Resident Bob Brown and other opponents of the plan called for a Special Town Meeting to address the issue, bringing forth a petition last year to stop the excavation. To Brown’s dismay, the townspeople ultimately voted to let excavation move forward.

Town officials put out a sand and gravel bulletin, outlining the costs and benefits of the project to the townspeople. The bulletin states that $25,540 will be saved by the town over the 26 year duration of the excavation project. The bulletin states that costs of trucks and personnel were not included because the yearly budget is fixed — something that opponents of the excavation site find misleading.

“There are no reclamation details, they need a transparent game plan,” said Brown on Wednesday.

At this year’s Town Meeting, Brown once again brought forth a petition article to stop the gravel and sand removal. It was again was voted down, allowing excavation to continue for 2014.

Brown, who lives across the street from the site, remains skeptical about the excavation process.

“I believe the town is proceeding in a blind way,” said Brown. “We need to look at the consequences, excavation was not the intention of the donated land.”

Cora A. Worthley donated the land to the town in 1936, with the stipulation that a grove of trees be kept on the land and that trees behind the cemetery not be cut down, according to Town Administrator Patt.

Tim Murray, superintendent of the town’s Department of Public Works, presented his plan for 2014 to the Select Board earlier this month. The board approved a 20 day window for the sand and gravel removal.

The Highway Department is currently cleaning up and burning leftover brush from last years excavation.

“Tree cutting and excavation preparations need to be done before Tim begins,” said Town Administrator Aaron Patt.

Murray plans to alter the driveway following this years excavation, adding an apron. The rail trail that runs through the property has been re-routed to avoid the excavation site.

This past weekend, the Select Board accompanied Murray on a walk through the property to ensure that new member Margaret Charig Bliss was up to date on the process. Brown said he was unable to attend the walk-through, because he only had one day’s notice.

“I’ll be back next year,” said Brown. “I want to make them explain the financial gains of this project. So far, they have failed to show any accountability.”

Dylan Fisher can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235, or dfisher@ledgertranscript.com.

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