By Jonathan Phelps
---- — IPSWICH — The $3 million Linebrook Road reconstruction project will move forward after voters yesterday approved a debt-exclusion override to fund the proposal at the annual town election.
There were 662 votes in favor of the project and 585 ballots cast against it.
“This is great news for Ipswich,” said Heidi Paek, co-chairman of the Planning Road and Linebrook Road resident. “The voters have chosen to invest in a main artery in our town that passes through two school zones. Now, we can make the road safer for all the users of the road whether they are in a vehicle, on a bike or walking.”
The project was overwhelmingly approved at last week’s Town Meeting. The work calls for upgrading sidewalks, repaving, and installing pedestrian and bicycle safety measures along a 3-mile stretch. The Doyon Elementary School school’s parking area will also be upgraded as part of the plan.
While there were no contested race in yesterday’s election, there were still people holding signs for candidates as voters pulled into the polls at the YMCA.
Town Clerk Pam Carakatsane said the polls were slow throughout the day with 1,295 ballots cast — about a 12.3 percent turnout.
Around 7:20 p.m., Argilla Road resident Tom Mayo walked out of the polls alone.
“I think more people ought to run. It is silly to have no competition,” he said, noting he came out to vote because he is a veteran of Vietnam.
He said he supported the debt-exclusion override.
“I think the town needs more safe bicycle and pedestrian paths that are safe and off the road,” Mayo said.
County Road resident Jim Berry also voted in favor of the debt-exclusion.
“We need the improvement to Linebrook Road to widen and straighten it for safety,” he said. “Most of the roads in town aren’t safe for bicycles.”
Mile Lane resident Sarah Player is the newest member of the School Committee, after longtime School Committee member Jeff Loeb did not run for re-election. She won 1,076 votes.
“I am really excited about joining the School Committee now with the new superintendent coming and the infusion of Feoffees funds,” she said.
Player said she is hopeful for higher levels of achievement and innovation.
“I think Ipswich has some good opportunities now to improve technology infrastructure, programming and professional development,” she said. “Ipswich’s budget has been lacking in those areas the last few years.”
School Committee member Sean Gresh was re-elected to his second term with 768 votes.
“I am really excited for the next couple of years,” he said. “We have a new superintendent who has a national reputation for transforming Leominster High School,” he said, referring to William Hart, who will replace retiring Superintendent Rick Korb this year.
Both Player and Gresh were holding signs along County Road near the entrance of the YMCA, along with Selectman Shirley Berry, who was elected to a second term with 952 votes.
“I was hoping there was someone who would run that I could support,” she said. “When I told people I was thinking about not running they said they would write my name in anyway. I like it, I like I would have missed it if I did run again.”
Despite a slight drizzle around 7:30 p.m., Berry said she was thankful to be able to greet voters. Berry was in the hospital in need of heart surgery during her previous campaign, she said.
“This was exciting to be here,” she said. “I respect all the people who vote for me.”
Selectman Bill Craft, also running for a second term, received 938 votes, and Moderator Tom Murphy received 1,045 votes.
Ipswich town election results
Board of Selectmen
Shirley Berry 952
Bill Craft 938
Sean Gresh 768
Sarah Player 1,076
Tom Murphy 1,045