Grafton to sell old town garage for $95,000 to local excavating firm

By Cynthia Prairie
©2015 Telegraph Publishing LLC

In a relatively quick meeting to clear Town Hall* for the Planning Commission last night, the Grafton Select Board unanimously voted to accept the bid for the old town garage to Grafton resident and business owner Jamie Gregory, of Jamie Gregory Trucking and Excavating.

The bids were opened in front of a full audience in the hot second floor room of Town Hall. Gregory’s bid of $95,000 was $45,000 above the only other bid for the property, that of Ivor Stevens, who owns and operates Ivor Stevens Grounds Maintenance, also of Grafton. The town put the old Route 121 garage up for sale once the new town garage — built on higher ground on Tom Bell Road off Fisher Hill Road — was almost completed. A new town garage  was made necessary by damage done to old one by Tropical Storm Irene.

Chair Sam Battaglia Battaglino also asked to suspend the three-bid minimum rule for contracting town work specifically to work on Town Hall, which he said needed repair to “meet fire regulations and deal with the snowfall” at the front of the building.  He noted that he “wouldn’t want more than two people … at once” on the stairs at the back of the building, then addressed what he called “the face of Grafton” – Town Hall. The front needs repair and has to be fixed he said. “We’re going to have to spend some monies on it.”

All four members in attendance – Ron Pilette was absent – voted unanimously to accept a bid on the work even though three may not come in.

*CORRECTION: The Chester Telegraph incorrectly reported that the Grafton Select Board meeting of Tuesday, Sept. 8  would be held at Grafton Elementary School. It was actually held at Town Hall.

Quonset hut for a salt shed

Road foreman Danny Taylor told the board that he had looked into options for a town salt shed and found that a Quonset hut would be less expensive than “if we built it and hired the cement work out.” A Quonset hut with bents 9 feet apart and with a high enough knee wall to accommodate loaders would cost about $58,000 compared to $75,000 for a salt shed built by the town.

The Quonset hut, he said, also comes with a 50-year warranty on the frame and a 20 to 25 year warranty on the top and is built to take Vermont snow loads. Taylor said he wanted the board’s permission to order the 156 blocks needed to put the hut on, but the delivery cost – because these huge blocks could only be shipped a few at a time – would be around $12,000.

“Time is of the essence,” said Battaglino, and the board gave Taylor permission to move ahead with the project.

In other action

The town Highway Department is considering selling a storage container that was bought by FEMA to the Grafton Fire Department for $2,400. Fire Chief Rich Thompson told the board that while the department is interested in the container, it needs to be approved by the executive committee. He then asked if the town “would donate it to the fire department, since FEMA donated it.” “Either way,” he added, “we are definitely interested.”

Finally, Stan Mack said that the town is hoping to be able to occupy the new town garage on Wednesday, Sept. 16. He added that at that time, extra work will have to be done. “We will have to refinish the floor … 8,000 square feet of flooring. We’re not happy with the way it turned out,” so the company will return to make the repairs.

He added that they have gotten a bid on a 20,000-watt generator for the building of $6,744 “lock stock and barrel,” fully installed, parts service and warranty. Yearly service would be about $360 a year for annual contract.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia 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, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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