FREWSBURG - To better understand what its residents want with regard to infrastructure and services, the town of Carroll held a public planning meeting for its next comprehensive plan.
The meeting held on Thursday was the final in a series of four. Previous meeting topics included: parks and recreation, downtown business and zoning and code enforcement.
According to Trudy Bloomquist, town planning board member, surveys and questionnaires were sent out to residents asking what they would like to see in a comprehensive plan, however public meetings, such as the one held on Thursday, were also planned to allow for conversation and brainstorming ideas to develop.
During the meeting, residents were asked what the town does well and what it could do better in the categories of: infrastructure, town services and property, utilities and miscellaneous issues.
Residents at the meeting all agreed that roads in the town of Carroll were some of the highest quality and best maintained roads around. With the exception of seasonal roads, commenting residents couldn't think of any roads in the town which have been left unpaved. Additionally, residents were generally pleased with the availability of sidewalks and the speed with which the town plowed streets during winter months.
Residents did say they would like to see the town find a way to incorporate "ecotourism" into the town, as Conewango Creek runs adjacent to the village, and it is a very popular stream for kayakers.
"We'd like to incorporate some sort of bike rental option toward the creek," said Ken Dahlgren, town board member. "Lots of people use the creek for kayaking, and most of the time they kayak right past Frewsburg without stopping. We'd like to give them an option to lock up their kayaks, hop on a bike, and come down to the Igloo for ice cream, or something of that nature."
With regard to town services and property, many of the town residents were also pleased with the services the town already provides. Those in attendance boasted about the beauty of the town park, and added that the convenience of town services such as leaf and brush pickup, free rabies vaccination clinics and a newly added CARTS bus route in Frewsburg are appreciated.
One resident said that an area to improve could be the overall aesthetics of the town of Carroll, from the perspective of an automobile passing the town line.
"If you drive into our town, it can be somewhat sad looking," said Patty Eckstrom, town resident. "There are flags that are faded ... the general drab appearance - it seems like it wouldn't take that much more effort to improve the looks just a little."
According to the surveys which were sent to residents, the majority of those who answered said the appearance of the town could be improved.
When it came to utilities in the town, the most discussed item was the unavailability of high-speed internet in most rural locations of the town.
"When it comes to what we're missing right now, fast internet service is still No. 1," Dahlgren said. "Unfortunately, we don't have a choice beyond Windstream or dail-up. If you don't like those options, then you don't get internet service, and it's that simple. And while we don't know what the future holds - we might become completely untethered in the future, right now we're in a bad position. But for the purposes of planning, we need to discuss things like the regulation of cell towers and internet service."
Finally, under the miscellaneous column, residents said they'd like to see more town attractions which would bring in tourists and town residents alike, such as flea and farmers' markets. Bloomquist mentioned how successful the Amish Trail is in Randolph, and said there's no reason why Frewsburg and the town of Carroll couldn't have its own unique attractions that emulated the style of the Amish Trail.