Oak Bluffs selectmen voted unanimously to give the go-ahead for the construction of a sidewalk on Dukes County Avenue at their regular meeting on Tuesday night. The sidewalk will provide safe pedestrian passage from the Oak Bluffs Harbor to Wing Road.
Voters at town meeting appropriated the funds for the project. Highway Department supervisor Richard Combra Jr. appeared before selectmen for their comments and final approval. Mr. Combra said there are still issues to be resolved, which include poor drainage in the School Street area that may be exacerbated by the addition of a sidewalk. Mr. Combra said a water garden near Sunset Lake was one option under consideration, and he would seek grant money for the drainage remedy from several sources, including the Wampanoag Tribe, which has provided grant money to the town for similar projects in the past.
While the drainage situation is being resolved, Mr. Combra told selectmen he’d like to proceed with phase one — construction from Wing Road to School Street. “The construction documents are all set,” Mr. Combra said. “I’d like to get it out to bid.” Six homeowners on Dukes County Avenue also have to decide if they will tie into the town sewer. At minimum, a stub for possible tie-in at a later date must be installed before construction on the sidewalk can begin. “If they don’t tie in now, the cost will be substantially more if they do it later,” Mr. Combra said.
In other business, Greg Ehrman told selectmen that the “Community Build” for the new Niantic Park Playground will start Wednesday, Oct. 14, and go through Sunday, Oct. 18. “We’ve had an incredible response from contractors and tradesman, as you can see on our Facebook page,” Mr. Ehrman said. “We still need volunteers. We need 400 people, and right now we have 150 signed up.”
Mr. Ehrman said while carpenters, landscapers, and laborers are needed, there are myriad ways volunteers, age 10 and up, can help. “We need organizers to run the tool shed; we need anyone who can donate time for one shift,” he said. Mr. Ehrman said the last shift will begin at 9 pm, under temporary floodlights. He added that the fundraising effort for the playground is $7,000 short of the $80,000 goal. Funding sources have ranged from Community Preservation Act funds to anonymous donors to profits from lemonade stands.