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Canton hosts meeting on pedestrian bridges

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CANTON — The town, village and Waterfront Advisory Committee will have a public meeting Tuesday on pursuing feasibility studies for two pedestrian bridges to enhance the community’s trail system, make it easier to cross between two downtown island parks, and bring sewer and water lines to Maple Hill Properties.

“The Canton Community Action Plan identified waterfront development as one of its first objectives. This is being done in fulfillment of that and the waterfront revitalization plan,” Supervisor David T. Button said. “This will move it from dream stage to planning stage.”

One of the proposals is for a pedestrian walkway under the downtown’s Route 11 bridge that would connect Heritage Park to Canton Island Park, which is also known as Willow Island.

“If you’ve ever watched the way people cross, they do not go to either crosswalk,” Canton Director of Economic Development Linda M. McQuinn said. “They’re always making a beeline for right across the road.”

A bridge for walkers and bicyclists would make crossing safer and probably increase the use of both parks, she said.

A second pedestrian bridge would connect Bend In the River Park with Maple Hill Properties on Route 11.

In addition to connecting Maple Hill more to the rest of the village, the bridge might carry sewer and water pipes underneath it. Maple Hill is a 72-acre residential and commercial development in the village that does not have municipal water and sewer services. Bedrock has made the private installation of some utilities difficult and expensive.

“I think we would see a lot more business development there,” Ms. McQuinn said. “They just don’t have access to water and sewer.”

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Best Western University Inn. Consultants Barton & Loguidice will make a presentation.

“The emphasis really is to bring the project to the public,” Ms. McQuinn said. “If folks have ideas, we’d like to hear those.”

The Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources provided the money to hire Barton & Loguidice to see whether the pedestrian bridges are feasible. If their work is favorable, the community will seek construction funding, likely through the state Department of Transportation.

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