5 Questions for Hopkinton Highway Manager Mike Mansir

What's the most important thing for residents to know about snow removal? As the snow melts, politics - especially regarding a new school and library - will bloom.

With a brief lull in the weather, Hopkinton Patch managed to grab a few minutes with Mike Mansir, who oversees the town’s highway department and therefore the efforts to remove snow and ice and keep roads, sidewalks and parking lots passable and safe.

He shared his thoughts on the winter so far and the prospect that bare ground will be showing before too long.

Hopkinton Patch: What has been the most difficult part of this winter for snow removal?
Mike Mansir: With all of the snow storms we have received over the last 6 weeks with not much melting, the snow banks are so high that our smaller trucks cannot push them back making a lot of the back roads narrow.

Hopkinton Patch: When is the worst possible time for a snowstorm to hit?
MM: The morning - 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. - and evening - 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. - commutes are definitely the worst times for snowstorms.

Hopkinton Patch: What one thing would you ask residents to do to help out with snow removal efforts?
MM: Just to be understanding and patient. This has been a very unusual and  active winter and it is taking us a lot longer to respond to requests than it normally would.

Hopkinton Patch:  What would you most want residents to know about the job being done by highway department employees and contractors?
MM: I think it is important that the residents know we have been working seven days a week for the last five weeks trying to widen roads, knock down high snow banks at intersections, remove snow from town owned parking lots as well as plowing & sanding during storms. We are taking the current situation very seriously and putting a huge effort into getting roads in as safe of a condition as we can.

Hopkinton Patch: How will you know Spring has finally arrived?
MM: When there is no snow left on the ground!

Your Turn

Everybody has an opinion on the weather. It happens to all of us, after all. And most people also seem to have an opinion on the job being done to keep the streets, intersections, sidewalks and parking lots clear as well.

So here’s your chance to get your two cents heard. Use the comments section below to let your fellow residents know your thoughts on how Hopkinton is doing with snow removal?

How do the roads in town measure up compared with other places you drive or travel? What’s the most treacherous spot in town thanks to the sky-high snowbanks? Is the sidewalk in your neighborhood passable? Are the plow drivers that handle your street courteous and effective?

Issues to Heat Things Up  

Spring officially begins on March 20. And though there may well be snowbanks galore still, politically things should be heating up in Hopkinton.

The issue with the most potential for controversy and disagreement appears to be the School Committee’s plan to build a new elementary school on Fruit Street and redistrict the system.  

Credit goes to the School Committee for its outreach efforts, including 40 neighborhood coffees (contact the School Committee for the place and time of  one in your neighborhood) and a forum at the Senior Center this morning (Friday, Feb. 11, 9:30). That board has laid out a compelling argument that educational efforts would benefit from the continuity of having students stay in a single school through the fifth grade.

The effort also benefits from timing in that the state is currently being generous with its reimbursement rates for towns that can afford to build and take advantage of lower construction costs. And it benefits from the fact that it’s hard to argue that the Center School isn’t extremely outdated.

The trickiest part for supporters of the overall plan might be convincing everyone to build a new school that only part of the town will benefit from directly. Parents are now starting to raise . 

The strong support already showing for the project has other consequences too, including making it more difficult for the library expansion project to get its full due and consideration when that project comes before voters again in the fall. Again, there are state funds to be had for part of that project - which is not always the case - but will voters keep digging into their own pockets?  

We’ll closely track both issues in this space, so please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Does Hopkinton need another new school? Is redistricting the answer? Can the town afford it and will voters pony up for it and a new library at about the same time?

Gene Cassidy February 12, 2011 at 05:35 PM
I found a bad spot to get out of Saturday Keith (not part of town plowing). Hopkinton State Park. The snowbanks are high and people are blasting down 85 both ways.It's like shooting a soccer ball. You have to peek and pop. Does Hopkinton need a new school? Sooner or later undeniably. The lion's share of School Committee presentations details the deteriorating condition of the Center School. It would actually cost more ($41 million, with no state money - the state has said it's not interested in this project) to rehab that school than to build a new one ($38 million, probably less in this construction-cost climate, minus about $14 million in state grants.) That doesn't make it any easier for people who have no money to spare to pay for a new school. But sooner or later, something will have to be done about Center School. I tend to empathize with the people who have spent years working on a plan to get the maximum amount of state aid and sited the school in a place where it can expand if needed. It's not perfect but it's far preferable to any alternative I've heard.


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