Grafton Select Board OKs $30,500 for new salt shed

By Cynthia Prairie
©2015 — Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Grafton Select Board approved two capital expenditures at its Monday, Oct. 5 meeting, including $16,184 for guard rail replacement along Route 121 and $30,500 for a new salt shed.

The guard rail work was awarded to Lafayette Highway Specialities of Massachusetts, while the salt shed – to be placed on the grounds of the new town garage on Tom Bell Road off Fisher Hill Road – was awarded to Iron Horse Structures, also of Massachusetts. The salt shed will cost $28,000 less than an earlier low estimate of $58,000.

Road Foreman Danny Taylor said that he had called two companies for estimates on a hoop building. Iron Horse’s price included assembly by Iron Horse staff, although the town would have to unload the parts. Connecticut-based Clearspan’s price was $32,395 with the town assembling the building. For $20,000 more, he said, Clearspan would erect it.

Before the town can erect the new salt shed, it must place 156 huge concrete blocks into which the hoops can be secured. Because of their size, the blocks have to be shipped a few at a time. The blocks and shipping cost around $12,000.Town Administrator Rachel Williams said Tuesday that “at least half” blocks have come in.

On Monday Taylor said, Iron Horse “didn’t act like it would be a problem for them to put it up this winter after we put the blocks down and drill holes” for the hoops. He added that the life of the hoops is about 50 years, and the life of the cover is 25.

Tree expenditures tabled

Fallen and dying trees were also discussed by the board and its audience.

Grafton Library chairman Bob Donald told the board that a large maple that overhangs Kidder Hill Road on library property needs to come down and the library would like the town to dip into its tree fund for the work. He said it had been inspected by three arborists, all of whom agreed on the need to bring it down. “I don’t believe it will come down tomorrow,” Donald said, adding that he thought the tree had been hit by lightning. The library had already secured three quotes for the removal work, the highest being $3,800 and the lowest being $1,800 from Melvin Rice of Grafton. The other bids were from companies in Weston and Westminster.

And resident Al Sands said that he went to look at the trees along the town’s trails at the suggestion of the Grafton Improvement Association and, after walking half of them, concluded that the “problem is bigger than trees on the trails. There were seven or eight dead pines … Any one of them could have hit the trail. I think the town needs to do some dead tree removal to encourage people to use the parks more.”

Board chair Sam Battaglino replied, “Yes, those trees are widowmakers. The problem is finding the people and the money to do it or find volunteers.”

Sands urged the town not to do the work with volunteers, saying “There is risk (of town liability) involved. Don’t go cheap to save money.” Taking down dead trees, he said, should be done by someone who is skilled. He added that the town could also leave downed trees to add to wildlife habitat.

Battaglino suggested that the Grafton Improvement Association may be able to donate some funds to help with the project.

Board member Gus Plummer also suggested that a logger may do the work if he gets timber that makes the work worth his while.

The board tabled any decision on both tree situations so that Williams and Road Foreman Taylor could go over the budget and the proposals.

Fast track for pump house demolition

In other action, the board decided to offer the town’s FEMA storage container to the Grafton Fire Department on Route 35 East at a “reduced cost of $1,000.” Battaglino said, “They would remove it and put it behind the fire house and do some landscaping and plantings around it.” The container is now sitting at the old town garage site.

The board also agreed to have Town Administrator Williams move ahead with the demolition of the old town pump house on Kidder Hill Road that was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and bought from the owner by FEMA. Williams said that the work must be complete by Dec. 24 and involves removing all the utilities, asbestos and lead paint testing and abatement, draining and removing the heating oil tank and pumping out and filling the septic tank.

Battaglino said that the town is moving ahead with work on Town Hall, specifically to get work done to alleviate the snow dropoff from the roof.

Also, a flood resiliency program will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Elementary Scool. Williams said lunch will be provided for free, but everyone needs to register by Tuesday, Oct. 13. Click here to learn more.

And Williams also discovered the mystery of the truck that dumped 27 tires along Middletown Road. She said that the property owner requested the tires, which he will be using as a retaining wall.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 30 years. She has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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