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Angry Chicopee Road Angry residents want potholes filled; highway deptartment overwhelmed with funded FEMA repairs


October 24, 2012

A group of disgruntled residents from Chicopee Road returned to the Damascus Township Supervisors’ meeting on October 15, and they were angrier than ever.

“We feel that we could have several options at our disposal to fill these enormous potholes,” said one resident. “We could fill them ourselves so we don’t need you, or we could hire someone to fix them and not pay taxes.”

The residents had come to the August township meeting and were assured then that the potholes would be filled. But that didn’t happen.

“I left here feeling good two months ago,” said resident Arlene Solimine. “And I felt even better when some workmen started fixing the road, but all of a sudden they never came back.”

Some residents describe the road as a bombed battlefield.
A second resident said, “Somebody said to a resident, ‘You’re speeding.’ But no one could possibly speed on that road, the holes are so numerous and so deep.”

“We were very polite and courteous last time, asking only that the road be fixed,” Solimine said. “We tried to be nice people, but if this isn’t done, we will bring a lot of people here and not be so nice.”

Solimine said that one of the things that attracted her to this area was that people kept their word. “A man’s word is his bond up here in our part of the country,” she said. “We bought our house on a handshake and that’s what attracted me. I want a commitment from you. I want the road to be fixed by November 1. Can you commit to that?”

Road master Chuck Grady said he could.

After the meeting, Grady talked about the pressure to meet deadlines set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has given the township over $200,000 to fix the biggest items in the township’s workload and given them a deadline of March 1, 2013. The holes were the result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Irene was a whole lot nicer than Lee, which did the most damage.

“That may seem like a lot of time to satisfy FEMA, but the winters here can be severe,” said Ed Lagarenne, zoning officer and emergency management coordinator. “If winter is rough, you just can’t work on frozen roads.”

Despite that circumstance, Grady says he’s sticking to his commitment of November 1.

“We’ll get it done. We’ll have to spend time on it and not on FEMA jobs. We can do it.”