The Warren Select Board discussed on December 21 the persistent issue of big box trucks and other large vehicles using the covered bridge in town and the potential for vehicles getting stuck or damaging the historic bridge. Board member Luke Youmell reported receiving a text that morning about a big box truck having to turn around at the covered bridge and blocking traffic.
The board discussed putting a PVC bar either inside the bridge or before it to block large vehicles from entering, as well as an electronic sensor with flashing lights or more signage, though some board members expressed concern about the aesthetics of blinking signs and large barriers.
“I’m reluctant to sign the hell out of it,” board member Bob Ackland said.
“We need to consider whether we make it a pedestrian bridge,” board member Camilla Behn said. The board decided to warn the issue for Town Meeting Day on March 1, 2022. “Shall we close the covered bridge and make green space on either end?” Behn asked. “This should be a town-wide discussion.”
Warren librarian director Marie Schmukal asked the Warren Select Board for a $35,000 (32.48%) increase to the library’s budget to provide salary and benefits for a new full-time library staff member. A new staff member would give Schmukal more time to focus on grant writing, planning and other necessary tasks to keep the library operating. The new staff member would also allow the library to open an extra day each week. Schmukal also said that the library’s ventilation system could use an upgrade. The select board said American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds could likely be used to improve the ventilation system.
The select board also discussed the conservation commission’s budget; in particular, the need for the ongoing project to remove invasive knotweed from town lands, as well as the planning and zoning administration budgets.
“I’m having some concerns over our budget given what’s going on in our world,” Behn said. “There’s a lot of increases,” especially in compensations. “I just don’t know if there’s an appetite for that. It’s going to be a tough year for a lot of people.”