Town to residents: Fix your street

Residents of Cynthia Avenue in Tiverton say the town paved and maintained their road for years, but now it won't have anything to do with it.

Certified letters were sent to every homeowner on Cynthia Avenue saying that unless residents fill the now gaping potholes and level the street with their own money, the Tiverton Department of Public Works will suspend plow operations, saying the divots will be too much stress on the trucks.

"My concern is if there was an emergency and an emergency vehicle needed to come up here, they're not going to be able to get through," said Lisa Gendreau, a Cynthia Avenue resident.

Who owns the street? There's a lot of finger pointing and no resolution.

The documented history goes back to 1960, for example, when the town signed off on the putting up of utility poles.

"I lived here 23 years, and they've always maintained the road. They'd come down, cold patched and filled in the holes every year, for years," said Mike Normandin, a Cynthia Avenue resident.

But the maintenance stopped seven years ago.

"It's frustrating because I feel we're being singled out," Gendreau said.

Other disputed roads in the town are being serviced.

The town argues that just because it treated Cynthia Avenue as its own in the past does not mean it's legally obligated to do it now.

Calls to town officials went unanswered, but in a previous response they said, "It may have been maintained from time to time ... (but) it's not a public street and has never been for the purpose of maintenance."

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled that "once a plot is filed and lots are sold, it negates the premise of it being a private road."

Cynthia Avenue residents said they don't have the money to redo the road themselves and that they want this one fixed before the winter comes.