By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY — If all comes together as planned, a select group of town-owned roads could be up for adoption by the middle of next month.
The Derry Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee, which got off the ground itself about 10 months ago, has been working since the early summer to develop a townwide Adopt-A-Road initiative, piggy-backing off the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program, said committee Chairman Tom Minnon yesterday.
In June, Minnon said, the committee considered adopting a section of state-owned Route 28 through Derry as part of the state roadway program. But with further thought, Minnon said the group decided to develop a sister program of its own.
“What started out as us maybe adopting a two-mile stretch of road kind of snowballed into a much greater initiative to have everyone in the town take part in taking care of our own town roads,” Minnon said.
To start, Minnon said the group will likely identify 10 to 12 town-owned roads that see the most traffic and put those up for adoption.
“Initially, just so we can handle the administration of the program to see what’s going to be involved in it, we don’t just want to open up every road in town and then be inundated with requests,” he said. “We’ll start slow.”
For the handful of community groups and businesses that take part in the first round of the Adopt-A-Road program, Minnon said, the committee will ask that roadways be cleared of trash at least twice a year in the fall and spring. Each adoption would then be commemorated with a roadway sign displaying the name of the group involved.
For many years, the “Beautify Derry” campaign has encouraged local groups to care for landscaping at certain town squares and intersections, but Councilor David Milz, who is a liaison to the energy committee, said he hopes this new program will take that goal a step further.
“We’re trying to turn it into something so that instead of just Pocket Park and things like that, there are full sections of road that are being taken care of,” he said.
And Minnon said he thinks the two programs will complement each other well.
“We’re looking at it just as a cleanup effort more than anything. We’ll get rid of the trash on the side of the road and recycle what we can,” he said. “Obviously there are other beatifying efforts, and we hope this will add to that.”
Several details of the program are still to be worked out, like liability issues and the breakdown of administrative responsibilities, but Minnon said he hopes to have the program ready to go by early November.
“Stay tuned,” he said. “You’ll be hearing more about it as time goes on. It would be good for people to start thinking, gee, is this something we might be able to support?”