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Valley News – Nonprofit Wants Hartford Track on Ballot

Hartford — The thaw-and-freeze weekend weather forecast was unwelcome news for the group of residents racing to collect signatures to put a plan for a high school track in front of Town Meeting voters.

If Friends of Hartford Track, a nonprofit that’s been pushing the idea of a track for years, is successful in its petition drive, voters will be presented with a plan that would see the track built on the Hartford High School and Memorial Middle School campus next summer.

Sheila Hastie, who leads the nonprofit, said the group initially hoped to get the town’s elected officials to put the plan before Town Meeting voters, but a lack of response led them to rush to gather 435 signatures, the only other way to get the measure on the ballot.

“I understand both the School Board and Selectboard have a lot on their plates right now,” Hastie said. “They’re working on a budget that is very difficult. We’re hoping that by doing it this way, they don’t have to deal with that.”

Hartford School Board Chairman Kevin Christie said the body has not had a formal discussion on the merits of the Friends of Hartford Track proposal.

“The board hasn’t had a chance to address the issue in whole. Being that it is a private petition, we will address it if it comes to fruition,” Christie said.

With the petitions due on Thursday, Hastie said that a group of volunteers had planned to do the bulk of the signature-gathering at two school-sponsored basketball games and a hockey game over the weekend, but things got harder when the weather forecast caused the school district to cancel those events.

Some of the volunteers are students such as Daisy Phelps, a 15-year-old sophomore from Wilder who volunteered to gather signatures along with several other members of the high school track teams. Phelps said she and the other members of her team were training for their running events last week by sprinting around the hallways of the high school.

“Our coach says it’s around 300…

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