Town Continues Research on Public Pathways

By Adam Swift

The town is slowly making progress on how it wants to address the use and maintenance of its system of public walkways.

At last week’s Town Council meeting, Council President James Letterie said the town had created a list of approximately 35 public pathways and beach access points in the town.

“This gives us an idea, for example, on Court Road, it just says multiple access points, so we are somewhere between 35 and 50, probably,” said Letterie. “I would like to send this to the public works department to take a deeper dive into it.”

The issue of how the town wants to deal with the public paths, many of which traverse or abut private property, became a topic of discussion for the council earlier this year.

“We want to take a look at our liability on each location and come up with a plan for potential maintenance of these areas,” said Letterie. “I know we have asked for a few years now, especially in the Court Road area, to clean up and maintain these access points, but this is not going to be an overnight process. It’s good that it’s brought attention to the issues; we are going to move it to public works and have some feedback over the next couple of months.”

Precinct 5 Councilor Joseph Aiello said the town should look at the legal ramifications of the ownership of the pathways, noting that some paths are likely actually longer than originally intended by the town, and in other areas there has been some encroachment on the land over the years.

Town Manager Tony Marino said he has talked to town counsel about the issue, and that it will take a deeper dive to establish ownership of some of the paths.

“We’ve got to look at each individual parcel, so it will take a little time as we start researching these walkways, looking at what has been recorded and what hasn’t, those kinds of things,” said Marino.

Precinct 2 Councilor John Munson said the public pathways and beach access points add to the charm of Winthrop.

“They are a selling point of Winthrop and make it more charming,” he said. “I use them and I love them.”

Munson said he would love to see the town make them more accessible so the public could enjoy them more.

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