|By Courtney Llewellyn|
Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM On Oct. 20, the selectmen of Wilbraham and Hampden met on Hollow Road to discuss its future. Director of Public Works and Town Engineer Ed Miga shut down the road linking the two towns in 2004 due to partying and dumping on the land abutting the road.
The selectmen from Hampden contacted Wilbraham officials approximately one year ago to consider the possibility of reopening the road.
On Nov. 19 the Wilbraham Board of Selectmen held an informal hearing to gather more information from residents.
Current blockades on the road are made of large mounds of dirt and gates. John Wilkinson Sr., a 37 year resident of Hollow Road, suggested a "gated situation" on both ends if the road is to remain closed. The gates would be opened only for emergency vehicles when needed.
"I understand why it was closed," John Lovejoy, a resident of Mountain Road, said, "but it was an extremely convenient road between the towns. It would cost a lot to bring the road back to a decent level but it should be kept open and monitored. It should be upgraded and used."
Judith Theocles was in favor of having the road cleaned up and brought back as well. "We want to be good neighbors [to Hamdpen]," she said. "Having the road open is good for mutual aid from police and fire departments. If you close that road the town will be making a big mistake."
A resident of Hampden who attended the hearing, Bruce Jackson, said three vehicular fatalities have occurred on Hollow Road and although dumping has dropped off considerably, he believes the road should remain closed.
"From the standpoint of Wilbraham public safety, on a scale of one to 10 with 10 meaning we keep the road open, right now we're looking at a five or less," Selectman James Thompson said.
"Give us a few weeks to look into these issues," he told those in attendance. "In the meantime, call the Board of Selectmen's office at 596-2805 or any of the selectmen personally if you have any other concerns."
The Board of Selectmen can also be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.