UNITY — After residents complained about the condition of Kanokolus Road having an adverse effect on Pond Cemetery, the Board of Selectmen has decided to pave it.

Selectmen announced Tuesday night during a public hearing that the town will pave a nearly half-mile stretch of Kanokolus Road, from Main Street to Pond Cemetery, at a maximum cost of $65,000. The project is anticipated to start at the beginning of August, and the money will come out of the $360,000 road budget.

“Given all the issues, the selectmen decided to pave Kanokolus Road from Main Street to Pond Cemetery,” Selectwoman Emily Newell said.

Newell said the board’s decision factored in respect to those interred at the cemetery, people who visit, the town’s responsibility for the upkeep, updated pricing on paving work and a reassessment of the planned road projects.

In March, voters passed a measure urging the town to study the feasibility of repaving the stretch of the road and what the best approach would be.

Complaints about dust from passing vehicles taking a toll on the cemetery prompted voters to raise the issue at Town Meeting. The Cemetery Committee put an article on the warrant to fund paving a portion of the road, though voters amended the measure, asking the selectmen to study and report back on the best path forward.

Newell said problems at the cemetery included rocks damaging headstones, some stones being completely covered with gravel, mowing problems because of the debris and clouds of dust wafting during services and visits.

“These aren’t just one-time issues,” she said.

Resident Andy Reed said it might be worth getting an expert on gravel roads through the Maine Association of Conservation Districts and help develop a plan for maintenance. He said a product called blue stone is used on gravel roads, and it’s as hard as pavement but doesn’t create the same amount of dust as a regular gravel road does.

Selectman Chris Rossignol said he’s concerned that sediment from the blue stone still would get into the cemetery.

Resident Tony Avila asked what the cost of maintaining the gravel road is.

For a single grading of all the roads in Unity, it’s roughly $2,500, said Selectman Emily Newell, and there’s a calcium treatment that’s less than $2,000.

Selectwoman Penny Picard Sampson said that with the cemetery road, it’s not as simple as just grading it. She said once the grading is done, the town gets a power broom to sweep up the grass so it can be mowed, and that doesn’t pick up all the debris.

“You’re still getting rocks chucked at the headstones,” she said.

The town converted Kanokolus Road to gravel three years ago after the condition of the pavement deteriorated, but residents and drivers have complained about damage caused by flying rocks, Newell said.

“We had a sound decision at one point. Now we have a problem that was not anticipated,” Newell said.

The Board of Selectmen cautioned that using $65,000 from the $360,000 road budget would detract from planned projects on other roads, some of which are in dire need of repair.

“We must keep in mind that allocating money to Kanokolus Road will take away from the other road work projects,” Newell said.

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