GREENVILLE — A room mostly full of all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts encouraged select-men Wednesday to allow ATVs the use of the paved shoulder on Pritham Avenue for access to downtown businesses.
After listening to comments about the proposal for more than an hour, selectmen voted to table action until their Sept. 3 meeting. The board appeared supportive of the Moosehead ATV Riders’ request to use the road from Greenville Junction to the downtown on a tempo-rary basis, but they also recog-nized the need to find a perma-nent trail elsewhere.
Even if selectmen agree to the proposal, the ATV club must get the support of the state Department of Conserva-tion and Department of Transportation. The DOT has the final say on the matter since Pritham Avenue is a state road.
In preparation for action on the proposal next month, Town Manager John Simko said he would research the matter and create a timetable for presenta-tion to the conservation de-partment and DOT should the board support the request. He also said he would work with Dr. Ken Woodbury of the Pis-cataquis County Economic De-velopment Council and Ken Snowden, president of the Moosehead ATV Riders, to find grants that could fund an alter-native trail.
“We’ve kind of exhausted all the routes around town,” Snowden told selectmen Wednesday. He said ATV riders bring lots of money into other communities and Greenville is missing out on those funds.
Richard Barter, past presi-dent of ATV Maine, told the board Wednesday that a recent study by the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy determined ATV users contrib-ute more than $200 million an-nually to state coffers. As work continues to create a trail from Kittery to Fort Kent, Barter said ATV Maine envisions Greenville as a place to stop for food, fuel and lodging.
Leigh Turner of the Black Frog and other downtown busi-ness owners threw their sup-port for the proposal. Paul Bre-ton of Breton’s Store in the junction said he supported the move.
“I’d be for this if I didn’t make a dime on it,” Breton said. “It’s not all about the money; it’s about people being able to enjoy themselves.”
Some questioned the wisdom of using Pritham Avenue, even on a temporary basis. Resident Janet Chasse asked how the traffic could be handled during church, funerals and sporting events when overflow traffic parks on the shoulders of the road. Others worried about the combination of bicycles, pedes-trians and ATVs.
Greenville Police Chief Scott McMaster said the access route could be shut down at any time when functions are held.