Of potholes and sidewalks

On the Right Lane
“It’s when you walk with your head held high that you fail to see the potholes.” Anthony T. Hincks, author.
You know it’s kind of funny because I don’t want to compare towns and yet the time has come that I really have to. That’s exactly where the title of this column comes from because my wife and I own a home on Route 202 in Windham and I often drive that route into Gorham. The two amazing differences that I have immediately noticed is the differences between, even you can guess it, are potholes and sidewalks. Maybe it’s time towns actually help one another.
One thing that has always amazed me about the Town of Gorham is almost immediately after a snowstorm, either large or small, is that the sidewalks in the Little Falls section of Gorham are cleared, even to the point of being clear enough to walk on instead of walking on Route 202. That cannot be said of the sidewalks located in South Windham which are still covered in snow and ice weeks after the last snow storm that hit us. What is even more amazing is that Gorham even cleared a small section of a sidewalk located on the Windham side of the river that divides us. Thank you, Gorham, for doing that.
However, the flip side is that driving the section of Route 202 from the rotary from Route 237 into Windham is that Route 202 is absolutely full of potholes once filled with cold patch (I guess that’s what it is called). The potholes come back as soon as it rains and one can hear the tires on their cars scattering it in all directions. So here is my praise of the Windham Public Works because someone in that department engineered a trailer to heat the cold patch in order to make it last longer when the workers pack it into potholes. It really is quite the piece of equipment so it proves Windham’s workers can do good things when given a chance.
Having stated all of that, I wonder what else the Town of Windham can do for us. I am amazed that a town the size of Windham does not have the services that many other towns have that have property taxes even lower than Windham does. My wife and I lived in towns of less than that 800 people where there were a fully functioning transfer station and even a town-owned gravel pit where there was a $5.00 charge for either sand or gravel. In Alabama, where property and other taxes were either low or nonexistent, things like garbage and bulky waste were done on a weekly basis and Windham has none of that. Really? It’s amazing the towns around Windham have those services while the taxpayers of Windham don’t, so I have to consider that a management problem.
For me, and some other citizens as well, there is an appearance of declining public services sometime after the Town of Windham joined what became EcoMaine where all our trash and recyclables go. It’s probably just a coincidence, but it’s truly sad that Windham has lost many of services it should provide its citizens. Of course, there’s the argument that taxes would have to increase but the sad part about that is many wonder where our tax dollars go, especially after the town manager spent an undisclosed amount of our cash on promoting a new Public Works garage. The Windham Skate Park has become a joke and for the life of me, I can’t figure why.
Windham has some super workers on its staff who I believe could make a significant change in delivering even better services to the citizens that they serve and, I might add, they want to serve proudly. Hopefully, our town councilors will work as a cooperative group sooner rather than later instead of the constant antagonism that a minority of councilors seem to do constantly. The old saying of united we stand and divided we fall applies to the town council just as it applies to our State of Maine and our Nation as a whole.
Lane Hiltunen of Windham always hopes for the best.