ALTON - The issue of public safety is not taken lightly by the people of Richmond.
Just ask Michael Pennacchia, resident of Bucknam Road in Alton. Pennacchia recently started a petition, signed by the vast majority of his neighbors, asking the town to do something that he believes will be the best interest of public safety in his quiet, rural neighborhood.
“I have done some activism before, and my experience is that when you have these issues, what really matters is what the people think,” he said.
The issue at hand is the ownership and maintenance of Bucknam Road, which runs through a small, interconnected neighborhood off of Route 91, just a few miles down the road from Chariho High School.
The road is currently owned by Charbert Inc., a division of NFA Corp., and is the responsibility of the private company. However, the company has essentially disregarded the property in recent years, according to Pennacchia. Charbert Inc. has offered free title of the road to the town of Richmond.
Currently, Riverview Drive is the only means of egress for the entire neighborhood. The residents would like to see Bucknam Road opened to Route 91 as a second route into and out of the area. Bucknam Road is unpaved, and part of it is closed.
“I’ve been here 11 years, and part of it has been closed since I’ve been here,” Pennacchia said.
“It is a concern because, when you come in on Route 91, when the river gets high, or becasue of heavy rain, Riverview floods,” he added.
Pennacchia said that while he and his neighbors have always had this concern, the Great Flood in the spring of 2010 really drove the issue home.
“We were landlocked,” he said. “No one could get in or out.”
For more information, pick up a copy of The Chariho Times.