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Hollow Road hearing listens to concerns from residents

By Rick Sobey

Staff Intern

The Boards of Selectmen from Wilbraham and Hampden came together on Feb. 4 for a hearing about the discontinuance of maintenance of Hollow Road. Yet again, both sides were unable to reach a final conclusion on the matter.

Residents from both towns attended the meeting and had the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns on the issue. Some Wilbraham residents living on Hollow Road do not want the same problems from before the closing of the street in 2004, such as illegal dumping of appliances and sofas, maintenance issues and unlicensed partying.

All sides in the discussion believe that there is a public safety issue without any access to the road. The consensus was there should be gates on both ends of the blockade of the road in case of emergency.

"Everyone agreed to a future gate that is locked," Wilbraham Selectman James E. Thompson said. "Emergency vehicles like ambulances would have a key to unlock the gates when necessary."

The ideal situation for the Hampden selectmen is for Hollow Road to reopen. Thompson, chair of the Wilbraham Board of Selectmen, disagrees with that idea.

"Reopening Hollow Road is not as simple as it sounds," Thompson said. "There are conservation issues with reopening it, and it would become very expensive to maintain the road."

He believes that shutting down the road to the public was correct four years ago and the public should still remain banned from the road.

"It was the right decision to close it when we did," Thompson said, "and there is no reason to open it up again. We do not want the dumping and maintenance problems from before.

"However, a gate for the emergency vehicles would be the best way to handle the issue."

The Wilbraham and Hampden selectmen will have another hearing about the discontinuance of maintenance of Hollow Road on March 3. At this meeting next month, they will come to a final decision on the matter.

Residents living on Hollow Road were unable to be contacted by press time.