MWDN: Southborough looks to pave roads in cemetery

Above: One of the Rural Cemetery’s stone dust roads covered in autumn leaves

Here’s the lowdown on a Town Meeting article I only recently learned about. At the April meeting, the DPW will ask for voters’ approval to pave the stone dust roads in the Rural Cemetery. The Metrowest Daily News has more:

Article 15 on the Town Meeting warrant asks that the DPW be allowed to use $100,000 from the funds it receives from the sale of burial lots to perform the work, which will also include the posting of avenue signs to honor local veterans.

Selectmen and advisory committee members have refrained from opining on the article either way, saying they’d like to hear some public reaction first.

“We’re trying to rejuvenate the old section of the cemetery,” Superintendent Karen Galligan said yesterday, noting that the stone dust pathways between the rows of graves often become rutted from tires and spill onto the grass.

Read the full story here.

Galligan told the MWDN one of the main reasons for wanting to lay down pavement is that the stone dust paths cannot be plowed in the winter, making it difficult or impossible for loved ones to visit graves at certain times.

What do you think? Do you like the “quaintness” the stone dust paths lend, or would you be in favor of paving them over? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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John Kendall
11 years ago

It’s been a very long time coming. Those of us who visit Rural on a regular basis know how things are when it’s wet, especially in the spring. I’m 100% behind this.

Tim Martel
11 years ago

Throwing a bunch a asphalt down seems like a bad solution.

C. Nicholas Ellis
11 years ago

I’m very much in favor of this plan. As much as I love keeping Southborough “quaint,” this is definitely a situation where function trumps form. Though I personally have never encountered a problem with the roads (snow tires work in snow,) I can definitely empathize with the idea of not being able to visit a loved one interred there. Paving the roads isn’t going to make the cemetery any less “rural” in my eyes. There will still be old trees, old headstones, and the old stone building. I think it’s far more important to keep the cemetery accessible to as many as possible.

Tim Martel
11 years ago

Its the solution that I’d like to know more about. How many options have the DPW considered? I’d like to know that, and potentially have input on what is done, not just whether or not something should be done.

Steve Winter
11 years ago

The issue may be more about what is under the paths, than the surface itself. Simply “painting” asphalt on top will only create a poor surface that will quickly break up. I favour creating properly founded ploughable roads for the main access routes, but leaving the smaller paths as stone to retain the character of the cemetery.

11 years ago

Really Tim? why don’t we micromanage every decision our town employees make….that way we won’t make any progress in this Town. I’m sure DPW has looked at many alternatives and chose what is best.

Dick Chase
11 years ago
Reply to  sboro87

Like they did with the swap shop?

11 years ago
Reply to  sboro87

“I’m sure DPW has looked at many alternatives and chose what is best.”

Really sboro87? Are you sure about that? I’m not.

This town is plagued by bad decisions by the DPW. Take a look at the peeling signs, the ugly planters at the north end of Route 85, crumbling roadway islands, poorly-placed black boxes on street corners, crumbling roads in the center of town, disintegrating asphalt curbs everywhere, costly trees that will be destroyed by disease if someone does not put a stop to their habit of piling mulch around the trunks, trees and shrubs on town property hacked indiscriminately on a regular basis. Shall I go on?

The historic cemetery is one of the few, authentic (not to mention sacred) pieces of Southborough history we have left. We should give a decision like this a bit more thought than just slapping asphalt on the problem.

The DPW recently increased burial charges and decreased burial services, but they now have $100,000.00 to put in new roadways. How does that add up?Owners of plots in the cemetery should be furious.

Mr. Winter is correct, will the roads be completely dug up and the proper base be installed? If not, this is a very short fix that will become a bigger problem after one winter. Proper maintenance of stone dust is probably less expensive and will preserve the integrity of the site. Is it just too much trouble? Has anyone given any thought to where all the rain and snow melt is going to go when all the roads become impervious? Will gutters and curbs be put in? Has drainage been analyzed? Asphalt is one of the least environmentally friendly materials that exists. Does anyone care?

So we should just shut up and let them do their jobs? Unfortunately, not from where I have been sitting for the past 10 years.

Tim Martel
11 years ago
Reply to  sboro87

I can’t say it better than “Really?” just did. Mr. Chase’s comment is spot on as well.

I’ll add that not all town employees live in town and share the same set of values as our residents. Particularly when it comes down to issues involving form vs. function, and short-term costs vs. long-term ones. I don’t want a quick/cheap fix that we’re going to regret for the next decade.

Has the Historic Commission been involved? Shouldn’t they be the ones to have the strongest feedback for the Selectman to consider?

11 years ago

In Vt they drive on dirt road all winter long. Can’t they grade the dirt roadways in the cemetery so they can be plowed. I can’t see them doing a proper job of paving without destroying all those lovely trees that help make the cemetery a pleasant place to visit.

11 years ago

I don’t see why the road isn’t plowable in the winter, other dirt roads are…

Accessibility is an issue, but paving it seems a bit overkill. I would think this to be a waste of money unless the proper road bed is in place, and I hate to ruin the “quaintness” of the area with plopping down pavement.

Hey, I have an idea… why don’t we repave Latisquama Road with the proper road bed BEFORE we decide on this issue? It’s in horrible shape and the random patches help, but don’t solve the problem.

11 years ago
Reply to  Helen

I have to agree with your last statement Helen. Although paving the cemetery may be something to consider, shouldn’t we continue paving our residential roads first? I’d like to not lose my tires when driving down some of the smaller roads…

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