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Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 12, 2014
Calling all residents:
Stonington selectmen seek volunteer for Route 15 panel

by Rich Hewitt

The Stonington selectmen are looking for a resident volunteer to serve on a multi-town committee that will work to direct more resources to improve conditions on Route 15 and other state roads that feed into it.

Following on the heels of the Fix 15 forum last month, the steering committee is calling on the 11 towns that supported that meeting to send representatives to a select committee that will “be active in planning, organizing, and carrying out courses of action that will achieve our goals,” according to a letter from the steering committee to those towns. The letter asks the selectmen in each of those towns to appoint a selectman and one person from the general public to serve on that select committee.

On Monday, Selectman Ben Barrows volunteered to serve on the committee, and the selectmen are now seeking a willing town resident to fill the town’s other spot.

The select committee plans to work with all public and elective officials who have some authority relating to Route 15 and will collaborate with other statewide efforts.

“This will be more than a lobbying effort,” wrote Blue Hill Selectman Jim Schatz in the letter to the towns. “We intend to change the dynamics behind the decisions and resource allocation that have created such dangerous and unacceptable road conditions in our neighborhood of towns.”

Stonington Town Manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris said initial plans include working to change the state’s road classification on Route 15 and meetings with members of the Legislature’s transportation committee before the next legislative session begins.

The first meeting of the select committee has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, at the Blue Hill Town Office.

Any town resident interested in serving on the committee can contact the town office. The selectmen will appoint someone from the list of those who volunteer.