CHINA NEWS: Selectmen award some work at Thurston Park

by Mary Grow

China selectmen discussed a range of issues at their May 15 meeting and made decisions on some of them, including authorizing expenditures.

They reviewed responses to requests for price quotes on work at the north entrance of Thurston Park and awarded part of the work. Payment will come from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) account, as approved by voters at the March town meeting.

To improve access to the town-owned park in northeastern China, three steps are needed, selectmen and Thurston Park II Committee member Steve Nelson agreed. The bridge, currently under water because of beaver activity, needs to be made accessible and repaired; the gravel pit and the road need to have trees and brush removed; and the road needs extensive repair, using gravel from the pit. Additionally, the gate needs repair, because of repeated abuse by vehicles accessing park roads.

Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said he had second-hand information that beaver removal discussions are under way with state officials.

Selectmen awarded a contract to repair the bridge to S. D. Childs and Sons, of Palermo, for $7,500. They authorized South China forester Tim Basham to clear brush for $3,500. And they approved Nelson’s offer to repair the gate for $1,500.

Reviewing two bids for the road work, selectmen were not clear that they were exactly alike. They therefore postponed awarding a contract until they receive clarification.

They approved L’Heureux’s request for $2,300 to improve insulation of the town garage.

L’Heureux reported that the town will do maintenance on the boat ramp at the head of China Lake’s east basin within the next 10 days, adding crushed rock to fill gaps between the cement planks.

He further reported that a ConnectME grant application for up to $125,000 to extend internet access through a gap on Route 3 has been filed. If the grant is approved, the town will contribute up to 20 percent of the cost of the work, according to a prior Selectboard vote.

Selectmen approved the proposal from the Weeks Mills fire department to buy a second-hand brush truck for $50,000, assuming it appears satisfactory to department members who go to Pennsylvania to inspect it.

Board Chairman Neil Farrington said the Weeks Mills Schoolhouse, one of China’s historic buildings, has sustained water damage that should be repaired before China’s 2018 bicentennial celebration. The building should also have a ramp to the back door to provide handicapped access, he said. He did not ask that the work be done immediately.

Non-monetary actions included the selectmen deciding they did not want to accept as a town building the old shed on the Jones property in South China, even though it is said to be an early home of the South China fire department. The South China library now owns the property.

In response to continued complaints about vehicles speeding and ignoring stop signs in the China Village area, selectmen agreed to post the town’s Black Cat radar in one place and to request a state traffic study in another. The board appointed Robert Kurek to replace Dwain McKenney as one of Palermo’s representatives on the Transfer Station Committee.

The May 15 meeting was preceded by public hearings on the three local ballot questions for June 13 and an executive session to discuss legal issues pertaining to the stipends for volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel approved at the March town meeting.

After the executive session, selectmen asked fire department and rescue representatives for a proposal before the next selectmen’s meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday May 31 (since the usual Monday is the Memorial Day holiday).

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