China selectmen revisit causeway project, fire pond

Neck Road fire pond, winter 2018

by Mary Grow

At their April 30 meeting, China selectmen returned to two often-discussed issues, the causeway project at the head of China Lake’s east basin and the fire pond dug last fall off Neck Road.

Board members are concerned about reports that the steep sides of the fire pond are falling in, moving it closer to Neck Road and creating a possibly dangerous situation. After reviewing alternatives, including guard rails, creating sloping sides and filling in the pond, they decided they can do no more until they talk with landowner Tom Michaud, due back from Florida in a day or two. Board Chairman Robert MacFarland said he and Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux will meet with Michaud as soon as possible.

On the causeway project, board members compared engineering companies’ quoted prices for different phases of the work to replace the causeway bridge and reassigned oversight responsibility from A. E. Hodson of Waterville to Topsham-based Wright-Pierce. They decided since they already hired Wright-Pierce to design and bid out the project, it is the logical entity to supervise the work of the contractor selectmen choose to do the work.

L’Heureux said A. E. Hodsdon is engineering two other China projects, Hunter Brook culvert replacements on Bog Brook and Pleasant View Ridge roads. The town has a $95,000 stream crossing grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to cover two-thirds of the estimated $142,000 cost of the Pleasant View Ridge Road culvert, the manager said, with the rest to come from town funds.

The TIF (Tax Increment Finance) Committee will offer interested residents information on the causeway project at the beginning of its May 7 meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the town office meeting room. TIF money is funding the work, part of a larger plan to enhance recreational uses at the head of the lake.

In other business April 30, Selectman Irene Belanger announced that the RSU (Regional School Unit) #18 meeting at which registered voters from the five member towns vote on the 2018-19 budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at Messalonskee High School’s Performing Arts Center in Oakland. The meeting is open; voters will have a chance to ask questions and propose budget amendments. The budget voters approve May 17 will be subject to validation or rejection by written ballot in all five towns on June 12, along with state primary elections and any other local questions.

On Tuesday, May 8, Belanger said, Thurston Park Committee members will meet at 7 p.m. at the town office to plan the annual spring clean-up in the town-owned park. People who are not committee members are welcome to help, as they have done in past years. Those interested should contact Belanger, committee Chairman Jeanette Smith or the town office.

Selectmen made four appointments to a new Comprehensive Planning Committee charged with updating China’s comprehensive plan. Members so far are Joann Austin, Irene Belanger, Kevin Rhoades and Carrol White III. Others interested should contact the town office.

Selectman Jeffrey LaVerdiere commented on residents who rake their lawns and throw the leaves and other trash into China Lake. Several people said the practice is both environmentally unsound and a violation of state law.

Selectman Neil Farrington said the selectmen have 30 applications from people interested in succeeding L’Heureux as town manager when he retires at the end of June. Board members went into executive session after their meeting to begin review of the newest applications.


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