Dexter council opens seven streets to ATVs

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DEXTER — ATV riders will now have access to a number of downtown businesses as the Dexter Town Council approved an ordinance opening seven town streets to ATVs during a May 17 meeting.

Under the ordinance ATV use on the designated travelways would be determined annually by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, taking place each open day from 8 a.m. to dusk. Operation of an ATV would be with the flow of traffic in the travel lane at the posted speed limit. For definition purposes, the Four Season Adventure Trail will be referred to as the “railroad bed” in the documentation.

The operation of ATVs would be allowed on seven public ways: Liberty Street from the railroad bed to Russ Street; Russ Street itself; Water Street from Liberty Street to the municipal parking lot on the south side of Main Street; Mill Street from Water Street ending at Spring Street; School Street from the railroad bed crossing Main Street to Center Street; Center Street from Main to Water Street; and Grove Street from the railroad bed to the municipal parking lot on the northside of Main Street.

An 11-member temporary ATV task force has worked for several months to help the council research what roads may be opened to ATVs, with the intention of helping community businesses and promoting economic development. The committee was formed several months after residents approved a non-binding question asking if they favored such a suggestion. The question narrowly passed 400 to 393 at the November referendum.

“This whole thing can be revoked in a year if it doesn’t work, but I will think you will be pleasantly surprised,” Council Chair Michael Blake told the audience during a public hearing on the ATV ordinance.

Several years ago the council opened the Silvers Mills Road to ATV traffic, and when asked Dexter Police Department Chief Kevin Wintle said there have been no complaints made on this particular access route. “To date we have had very little ATV complaints made,” the chief said.

“I think it’s an excellent start,” Councilor Sharon Grant said as the council took its vote.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Councilor Fred Sherburne said.

“Thank you guys for putting in the work for that,” Blake said to the ATV task force.

Committee member Frank Spizuoco said he would work with Wintle on the locations for ATV signs, based on a plan draft map. In other communities the ATV clubs sponsor and place the makers but with Dexter not having its own formal club the possibility of local businesses sponsoring the signs has been discussed.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
DEXTER KEY CLUB HONORS — Dexter Regional Key Club President senior Mathison Deering, left, and juniors Aino Rudloff-Eastman and Shannon O’Roak gave a presentation during a May 17 Dexter Town Council meeting on the club’s trip last month to the New England and Bermuda District of Key Clubs annual District Educational Conference in Springfield, Mass. The Dexter Key Club received nine awards, including the Diamond Distinguished honor. The highest award bestowed to a Key Club was presented to the Dexter club for the eighth time in 10 years and the organization was one of eight in about 150 clubs earning Diamond Distinguished status this year. The three club members said they are asking for support from the community as they work to raise $12,000 to provide clean drinking water in the small south African nation of Swaziland through the Thirst Project.

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