SHELBURNE -- Voters in Shelburne will have a lot to think about come Town Meeting Day.

Not only will people finally get to make their choice in the presidential primary, but they will also help decide how Shelburne continues to develop as a community. In addition to the town budget and the school budget, voters are asked to make a decision about a $1.1 million bond for the construction of recreational paths, bike lanes and new sidewalks...

Over the years, the Shelburne Bike and Pedestrian Path Committee, chaired by Rob Donahue, has worked to create a network of recreational paths so cyclists and others have safe routes to travel. This year, the committee would like to see the network extended to Webster Road to accommodate children who bike the route to school. It would also like to see sidewalks built or extended on Harbor and Mount Philo roads, and bike lanes painted on both sides of Spear Street from Irish Hill Road to the Shelburne/South Burlington town line.

Many in the town are concerned about the $1.1 million price tag attached to this project, especially because the town is carrying its largest debt load. Haag says this article is controversial because it involves such a large amount of money and there is a feeling not everyone in the town will benefit from the proposed improvements.

For Donahue and the other members of the committee, the safety of town residents, especially children, is worth the $1.1 million. About 22 percent of children in Shelburne live off of Webster Road, Donahue said, and that makes it a "considerable feeder road." Donahue says many more children are riding their bikes to school in clement weather and are often forced to ride in the street.

"This is a major safety issue. Let's get the kids out of the street," Donahue said.

The committee has secured $300,000 in federal funding for the proposed work, that includes easements and construction of the path, sidewalks and lanes. Donahue also anticipates another $160,000 in grants coming soon and says the committee has done everything possible to lower the cost for the town.

Donahue said he is "cautiously optimistic" that voters will see the value of the bike path and sidewalk construction, especially because it is part of the approved town comprehensive plan.
Contact Lauren Ober at 660-1868 or