ST. ALBANS — The section of Route 104 between Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center and Hard’ack Recreation Area was one of the road segments in the town that the planning commission prioritized for sidewalks at their bi-weekly meeting Tuesday night.

Members also reviewed an update to the town plan and passed a resolution supporting the city and town’s joint application for the Better Connections Program.

Director of Administration Ned Connell began the meeting handing out a list of prioritized sidewalk corridors from the 2003 version of the Sidewalk Master Plan.

Connell said the consultant at the time developed this list using a map of the town as reference instead of figuring out where the heavily trafficked corridors for pedestrians and bicyclists were. The top four priorities were Congress, Fairfield, Upper Welden and Fairfax streets.

Connell presented his own list of suggestions, saying he focused on areas where there is an existing user base:

  1. Congress St. from the city line to Hard’ack Recreation area
  2. A multi-use path crossing the St. Albans State Highway
  3. Route 7 from the city line to the former Energizer plant
  4. Fairfield Street
  5. Upper Welden Street
  6. Fairfax Street
  7. Nason Street from city line to Lapiere Road
  8. Lake Road from city line to Bronson Road
  9. High street from city line to the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail on Route 105
  10. Albans Bay area

Chair Sam Smith said he considers the top two priorities for sidewalks to be Route 7 north of the city limits in order to connect the shopping areas and on Route 104 to connect the two recreation centers, Hard’ack and the Collins Perley Fitness & Sports Complex.

Smith said there’s going to be some major changes at Hard’ack to increase usage at the recreation area and once those are complete, it would make sense to connect it to Collins Perley. “If you build it, it’ll get used,” he said.

Vice chair Brent Brigham said the section of Route 7 south between Harborview Drive and the city limits should also be added to the list.

Planning commission member Grant Henderson said the town should talk to the city about a High Street sidewalk and do a joint project. Smith agreed.

“When you’re proposing some of these things, you have to look at what population you’re serving,” Smith said. “I think we would have to do some of this in cooperation with the city because their residents are benefiting as much if not more than the town residents.”

Smith said sections like Congress Street to Hard’ack, High Street to Route 105 and Collins Perley to Hard’ack are going to be used by both town and city residents.

“I propose that some of this, the cost, could be offset by maintenance, where the city would agree to do the maintenance,” Smith said. “They certainly have the equipment, which we have none of.”

“Because if the town taxpayer is paying for a trail or sidewalk to benefit another different community member,” he said, “it may not be as well received.”

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