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YARMOUTH — Upgrades are coming to the Main Street Village in Yarmouth.
Plans to polish and spruce up the area were brainstormed by residents and town officials in a public meeting Nov. 27 at Yarmouth High School.
The project reaches from Latchstring Park at West Elm Street to Marina Road, and is an extension to the improvements already slated to begin next spring.
Earlier this year, a site assessment was conducted by a consulting firm, Terrance Dewan and Associates, which is heading the streetscape project. An assessment by the firm found that several sidewalks in town are not compliant with current American with Disabilities Act requirements.
“When we went down there, a group of about 15 of us, we went down there with a gentleman who uses a wheelchair,” Dewan said. “It was eye-opening for him to tell us and to see that someone in a wheelchair could just literally tip right over on some of the sidewalks.”
Next year, the southernmost sidewalk from West Elm to Center Street will be completely rebuilt, the crosswalk will be improved and West Main Street, stretching from Elm Street to Rainbow Farm Road, will be repaved.
According to Alex Jaegerman, the town’s director of planning and development, it’s imperative to get the first phase of the plan started so everyone, including those in wheelchairs, can safely enjoy “what the town has to offer.”
“It really is important that we are upgrading to a higher standard after some of the sidewalks and driveways have been fragmented or have deteriorated over the years,” Jaegerman said.
After sidewalks and crosswalks are updated to comply with ADA standards, other improvements will also be done along Main Street.
“We are going to do this in incremental stages. We don’t have the money to do soup to nuts all at once, but as we do incremental improvements we want it to be a cohesive whole that works for everyone.”
According to Jaegerman, estimates for the additional phases of the streetscape plan are not available as these phases are not “finalized or even proposed” at this time.
Any costs for the improvements are expected to be financed through funds budgeted from tax increment financing or the town’s development fund, Jaegerman said.
Residents gave their feedback on other possible upgrades to Main Street, including fixing lighting issues, upgrading park benches, and adding a roundabout to slow traffic down.
There was some opposition to the idea of a roundabout.
Tony Cowles, a resident of Yarmouth for 18 years, said he frequently bikes and walks around town and it would be very challenging to deal with a roundabout.
“I don’t think they are very bicycle and pedestrian friendly,” Cowles said. “They are difficult to manage on a bike because you’re having to look for traffic at every point where there might be traffic coming through the intersection and that can be very challenging for pedestrians as well.”
Other residents brought up concerns about adding underground utilities like those installed along Route 1 in Falmouth, but there would be a substantial cost, according to Dewan.
In January, a second public meeting will be held regarding additional phases to the streetscape plan. After public input, a final plan will be presented to the Town Council for approval.
“That is what these brainstorming sessions are for,” Dewan said. “We want to hear everyone’s ideas on what they think works for Yarmouth.”
Yarmouth residents mark up maps and discuss what they’d like to see happen along Main Street during a public forum Tuesday night, Nov. 27, at Yarmouth High School.