China TIF committee reports little progress

Joe McLean, from Wright-Pierce Engineers, shows bridge plans for the causeway to the TIF committee in May 2018. (Contributed photo)

by Mary Grow

China’s TIF (Tax Increment Finance) Committee members had little progress to report at their June 18 meeting.

The committee’s main focus is on the head of China Lake’s east basin, where the first phase of a multi-year project involves replacing the bridge across the inlet stream. That work is supposed to be done this fall. Phase two calls for additional parking, improvements to the existing boat landing and increased pedestrian access to the shore. Tom Michaud, chairman of the subcommittee working on the causeway project, reported that only one company responded to a request for bids on the bridge. When Joe McLean, the Wright-Pierce engineer working with China, inquired, he found potential bidders were booked for the summer and had not read enough of the request to realize the work is to be done in September and October.

Consequently, Michaud said, the bid deadline was extended, and he hopes for at least four bids.

The shortage of parking is so far stymieing phase two. The land where boaters park across from the landing, and a larger parcel across Routes 202 and 9, belong to Susan Bailey, not to the town. Michaud and other committee members insist that if the project is to succeed the town needs to buy the property.

After a lively discussion, Soares proposed that he, Michaud and fellow subcommittee member Jim Wilkens talk with other landowners on the east side of Route 202 and along the west end of Pleasant View Ridge Road to find out whether anyone is willing to sell.

If parking is to be across the main road, committee member Amy Gartley said, pedestrian safety needs to be considered. Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux reminded the committee that the state Department of Transportation (MDOT) agreed to install a traffic light on Route 3 in South China when Hannaford agreed to pay for it. Soares suggested the town could pay for a light at the head of the lake.

Committee members touched briefly on the 45-mile-an-hour speed limit on the causeway, a left-over from the days when the main road ran through China Village and across the causeway. L’Heureux said MDOT plans a traffic study and is likely to adjust the limit to the average actual speed.

The committee postponed discussion of other pending projects. Members reviewed Soares’ draft application form for TIF funds and suggested a few changes and review by town office staff.

According to the Town of China web site, the TIF Committee will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 16.


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