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Selectboard to reconsider Halloween road closing in 2017

Request to create a detour for trick-or-treaters a scary prospect

PUTNEY—Despite some residents’ requests to close a portion of the road on Kimball Hill to vehicular traffic on Halloween night, town officials opted to keep it open — at least until next year.

A group of parents asked Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard to close Kimball Hill and Westminster West Road between Route 5 and Sand Hill Road between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 “for safety reasons while the kids are trick-or-treating,” Stoddard said.

During the discussion, Stoddard and board members expressed their interest in the trick-or-treaters’ safety, but their concerns about Kimball Hill residents getting home, and the danger of detouring traffic through the intersection of Route 5 and Sand Hill Road, led to the decision to approach the issue instead with greater emergency-responder presence, tabling until next year the idea of closing the road on Halloween.

Stoddard told Selectboard members at the Oct. 12 regular Board meeting that she conferred with Putney Fire Chief Thomas Goddard and Windham County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Josh Parro on the issue.

Goddard offered to park a fire truck near the road, and to place a programmable message sign, to alert drivers of the Halloween revelers’ presence. Parro told Stoddard he would patrol the area.

Ruby McAdoo addressed the Selectboard, advocating for the road closure because it contributes to “a sense of community."

“It makes a big statement that our town supports families,” McAdoo said, adding that a detour is just “an inconvenience” that some might expect on the holiday.

“I don’t think it’s wise to make this change without notice,” said Board Chair Josh Laughlin.

By tabling the idea until next year, Laughlin said he hopes residents will be inspired to work together on ideas for increasing trick-or-treaters’ safety in downtown Putney.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #381 (Wednesday, November 2, 2016). This story appeared on page E1.

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