To pave or not to pave?

May 8, 2008 4:08:31 PM PDT
One of the last dirt roads in Hopewell Township is causing quite a dustup.Aunt Molly Road in Hopewell is believed to be one of the last remaining dirt roads in Mercer County and most residents here want to keep it that way.

"Just the ambiance and the fact that in this busy, busy area, close to Philadelphia and New York, we can have an unpaved road, a dirt road, that people can enjoy," Jane Jeter said.

The owner of a 128-acre estate on Aunt Molly Road, a wealthy businessman, has been pushing to pave the half mile stretch of dirt road because he's had it with the dust that's kicked up every time a truck or car goes by. The estate's caretaker, Frank Pasquito, also sees safety issues.

"I've heard pretty, I've heard nostalgia, I've heard everything. What is the actual truth? We're worried about somebody getting killed here," Pasquito said.

A home video, Pasquito said, shows the road can be nearly impassable when it's covered with ice and snow and he claims the rest of the year, the dust kicked up by cars can be so thick it creates a real danger.

"If one car's going and there's another car coming you cannot see the car in front of you even 40 feet away," Pasquito said.

It costs the township more to maintain a dirt road rather than pave it. Some say it's worth the price.

"Rather than let's pave, pave, pave and develop, develop, develop, protect what we have so we can develop wisely. Once it's paved it's done; you can't go back," Catherine Cahill said.

The township has met with residents and will do so again before deciding whether or not to pave Aunt Molly road and get rid of the gravel.