Cornwall receives grant for new sidewalks

CORNWALL — Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced its selections for the Transportation Rural Improvement Program (TRIP) grants.

Applications were submitted to the state in 2023 for infrastructure projects in rural regions of the state. By the deadline to apply, more than $20 million worth of grant requests were received but only $10 million was available in funding.

In the first week of February 2024, winners were announced. Cornwall was awarded $868,000 for its proposal to improve walkability through sidewalks and crosswalks in both West Cornwall and Cornwall Bridge.

The Board of Selectmen (BOS) reviewed the project at a regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 6.

In Cornwall Bridge, the proposed work includes a long stretch of sidewalk from the fire department to the country market. The crosswalk in front of the market will be improved with flashing lights and a smaller section of sidewalk will be added on the northern side of the street as a landing for the crosswalk.

In West Cornwall, two speed tables will be added on the downhill portion of Cornwall Goshen Turnpike near 3 Guys Ski and Ride and the Wish House. Signage will also be installed to warn for the upcoming speed tables and for the low-clearance covered bridge. A crosswalk will be added in front of the Local building along with granite curbing on each side of the road.

First Selectman Gordon Ridgway said the goal in each section of town is to increase pedestrian safety and slow traffic down in those areas, particularly in West Cornwall.

“Super exciting. Big step forward for Cornwall and you can see these are really sensible improvements that are going to slow people down and establish quality of life in town,” said Selectman Rocco Botto.

Early voting

In the coming election year, Connecticut has implemented new policies for early voting. BOS updated voters on what to expect at the polls this year.

For the presidential preference primary election April 2, Town Hall will be open for four days of early voting. The primary election Aug. 13 to select candidates for secretary of state, congressional representatives, treasurer, and others, will include seven days of early voting. For the general election Nov. 5, a total of 14 days of early voting is required. Polls will be open for eight hours on each early voting day.

Discussion ensued about the strain this puts on volunteer poll workers in small, rural towns.

“We’re going to have people in Town Hall for four days waiting around people to vote in basically uncontested elections,” said Gordon Ridgway on the primary requirements.

Registrar Jayne Ridgway added that four poll workers will be required in Town Hall each day, and the registrars cannot double as poll workers. The state awarded a grant of $10,000 for towns to fund poll workers.

Legal minds continue to debate the language of the early voting law and updates are coming down weekly.

“There’s a lot of uncertainties. I’ve been to, I think it’s been four or five meetings,” said Jayne Ridgway. “And each time more questions come up.”

Information will be released by Town Hall as election days approach.

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