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Williams calls for improvements to Springfield's private ways

Date: 9/8/2009

By Natasha Clark

Assistant Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Mayoral candidate Bud L. Williams hosted a joint press conference on Sept. 2 with the residents of Barre Street.

Williams is calling for a plan of action for implementation of road improvements for the more than 400 private ways in the city.

"These people over here are taxpayers," Williams said. "The quality of life is unacceptable. This is like a Third World country. The conditions are deplorable and unacceptable."

The private unpaved road is so uneven and damaged due to mud and rain runoff that the U.S. Postal Service cannot make deliveries. Residents are forced to retrieve their daily mail from mailboxes that were constructed for them down the street and around the corner in front of a wooded area.

Mable Haygood said she would "like to have my mailbox in front of my home."

"An ambulance could lose valuable seconds coming down this street," Williams noted.

Paula Guyette, a Barre Street resident for 19 years, said the condition of the road, which has been that way during her entire residency, is a big safety issue. She said they have submitted petitions to the city in the past to either have the road graded or made into a public way.

Irma Perez said in the winter children have fallen on their way to school.

"I'm afraid a child is going to get hurt. We're all parents, we're all concerned, frightened and scared," Perez said.

Williams said funding to upgrade street conditions on all private ways could come from a portion of the remaining state loan money. He estimates the costs at approximately $1 million.

"My administration will get this done. You need to bring people into the 21st century," he added.

On Sept. 8, Williams said he will meet with Department of Public Works Director Al Chwalek to discuss the issue further.