Goffstown handicapped-parking project targeted
GOFFSTOWN — A flier paid for by a local disabilities activist is accusing town employees of stalling a project that would create four handicapped-accessible parking spots at Goffstown High School.
Wayne Perreault, in a paid advertisement in the New Hampshire Sunday News, said town officials are opposing the project, despite building what he calls a “private turnaround” at the end of Spring Street, where he lives.
“If the town can use taxpayer dollars to build a so-called private turnaround with three new parking spots, why are they fighting four parking spots for the community?” Perreault said.
Perreault is at the head of the campaign to create four new parking spots at Goffstown High School, which he has said are necessary to increase accessibility on Election Day.
“Before my kidney transplant, I had neuropathy and the ADA parking spots at the high school are 300 feet away from the registration table,” Perreault said. “I met with other disabled residents and promised them I would do my best to improve accessibility at the high school.”
Town officials met with a representative from the Governor’s Commission on Disability shortly after the election and were found to be in compliance with ADA regulations, though recommendations for further improvements were made.
Since that time, Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux said she has been working with the involved parties on the issue.
“I have no idea why Mr. Perreault thinks that I am against the proposal of adding four ADA parking spots near the gym entrance of the High School,” Desruisseaux said.
In May, the School Board met and approved the creation of the parking spots, but refused to provide funding for them. Desruisseaux said she is working on a way for the town to accept donations for the project.
“I don’t believe the selectmen are opposed to the project provided private funds are used,” she said, adding that the town is trying to get a better handle of obtaining a true cost for the project.
Early estimates on the project indicated creating the spaces could cost as much as $42,000.
Public Works Director Carl Quiram said he met with Selectman Mark Lemay and Town Engineer Meghan Theriault at the high school Tuesday, and the three have come up with an alternative plan for the spaces that would be more cost-effective.
Quiram also addressed Perreault’s comments made in the flier about the Spring Street turnaround.
“The whole Spring Street issue was as transparent as could be,” Quiram said. “It was part of a whole road project up there.”
According to Quiram, the town obtained an easement to build the turnaround and said there is a difference between the town being deeded land and being granted an easement from a resident.
“With an easement, the property owner owns the soil under the pavement, they’re just giving people the right to pass,” Quiram said. “There are limitations as to what we have the right to do.
Quiram said the owners agreed to keep the turnaround clear on trash days in during snow emergencies and granted the easement to help the town.
“It’s still their property,” Quiram said. “They just granted us an easement to build a turnaround.”