continued “Even if you did a BAN for $100,000, you’re only going to actually spend a third of that in the long term,” Nessle said.
Both Nessle and Councilman Peter Olesheski said ideally they’d like to see the town push forward and complete the project by November. Olesheski said that if the project had to be broken up into phases and completed over two years, he’d like to see the playground be the first priority.
“The trail project is fantastic,” he said. “But it doesn’t need to be top billing.”
The playground was part of the original plan and the town should move forward with it and get it done, he added. Kids in the town, including his own small children, could benefit from the playground as soon as this summer, he said.
Vanselow, however, initially said he’d like to see the town save some of its resources for the trail system, in case the state doesn’t grant an extension.
“I’d like to move forward with the trail,” Vanselow said, adding that he’d like to believe the town would find a way to pay for it even if the state grant didn’t cover the cost. He urged the town to move forward with the trail while continuing to pursue a dialogue with the state. Vanselow noted that even if the state did include the trail in the grant, reimbursement of grant-eligible expenses could take up to six months, maybe longer.
Ninety minutes into the discussion, after a protracted back-and-forth about the merits of various approaches to accomplishing the project, Olesheski presented a motion to proceed with the construction of the playground portion of the project and the first phase of the trail loop this year and, assuming an extension from the state, complete the project next year.
After much introspection, Councilwoman Kate Nightingale seconded the motion, reasoning that if the state needed to see substantial progress on the project in order to grant an extension, then the playground would be the most attainable way to show substantial progress.