GREENVILLE, Maine — Town officials voted unanimously Wednesday to support a temporary all-terrain vehicle trail along Pritham Avenue from Greenville Junction to the downtown.
A letter from the board expressing its support will be forwarded to the Department of Transportation, which will make the final determination for the ATV route on the state-owned road.
The Moosehead ATV Club made a request earlier this year to the Department of Conservation to use the road to provide riders with other opportunities and to help the local economy. The DOC forwarded the request to the Department of Transportation since Pritham Avenue is state-owned, and the DOT requested comment from the town.
“This is just another way to help the businesses downtown,” merchant Sherry Goodspeed said Wednesday. “As a business owner, I think it will help us through that slow period.”
Greenville Town Manager John Simko said Wednesday that the temporary trail is a stopgap measure until a permanent trail can be created, preferably along the power line. A grant is being investigated to help fund the development of a permanent trail. If successful, the grant would cover most of the costs.
The request for the temporary route has been fully explored by town officials, including Greenville Police Chief Scott MacMaster, Simko said. ATV riders have to follow the same rules as other motorists on the public way, including the speed limit, he said. The route also has to be properly signed or it does not exist. ATV riders are liable for their actions as are other motorists, but they are not required to carry liability insurance, according to the town manager.
MacMaster used an analogy to explain his feeling about the proposal. His wife made a pizza using wheat dough which, he said, is good for you but defeats the whole purpose of having pizza. “She puts it down in front of me and I was nervous and a little bit apprehensive and she said you’ve got to try it,” said MacMaster. “Well, I’m nervous and apprehensive about the ATV trail — it’s something new and we’ve got to try it.” He then added, he did try the pizza dough and found it OK.
If approved by the DOT, the seasonal route would be open for use from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. May 15 through Nov. 15 each year. Town officials could request the DOT to discontinue the temporary access route if problems arise, Simko said.
Ken Snowden, president of the local club, said he had received no telephone calls or e-mails from residents concerned about the proposed trail.