Within days, the state DOT will begin replacing the bridge in Chester center. Some may not realize there is a bridge at the intersection of Main Street and Route 148, but indeed there is and it’s long overdue for repair.
Also long overdue for repair and enhancement is the Chester village streetscape. The Main Street Project Committee has been working since 2011 on first creating a master plan for the village center and its main tributaries and then executing the first phase of work this past summer. Throughout the process, the committee has sought public input.
The committee is now considering the next phase of work in the village center and an important question has arisen. Considering the disruption caused by the bridge replacement, which is scheduled to be completed by May’s end with loose ends completed during the summer, does Chester want to endure another round of disruption about eight months later or do we want to wait another two or more years to give the town a longer breather?
One way or another, the work needs to be done. Sidewalks are crumbling; curbing is broken; spare few trees are left to grace the street; lighting is in disrepair; parking is haphazard; popular amenities such as bike racks, benches, and proper signage are almost non-existent; and many unique features and opportunities go uncelebrated or unrealized.
Chester is a very unique place. Some call it quirky. Some call it eclectic. Its history is quite fabled as well. All of this needs to be preserved, celebrated, and enhanced. Many of us are committed to this effort, but we need your readers’ help and input. They should let the committee or the newly elected selectman know what they think. All meetings are public. Let’s work together to help Chester thrive as the one-of-a-kind place it is!
John R. Schroeder
John R. Schroeder serves on the Chester Main Street Project Committee.