China Lake main theme at select board meeting

by Mary Grow

For the May 22 China Select Board meeting, China Lake was a major theme, in three different ways.

Select board members unanimously and appreciatively accepted a proposal from the China Lake Association, represented virtually by board member Bruce Fitzgerald, to have a Colby professor and class do an economic impact study of China Lake.

Fitzgerald said the study would cost the town zero dollars. There would probably be requests for information, some of which might require town office staff time; Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood saw no problem.

The main theme would be the value of lake-based tourism to China. Fitzgerald invited other suggestions for content, and said it might be possible to involve the China Region Lakes Alliance and expand the study to Three Mile and Webber ponds.

Fitzgerald said the same professor did a Belgrade Lakes study. That 12-page document, titled A Case Study of the Economic Impact of Seasonal Visitors to a Lake Watershed Environment, is on line under tourism/2015-2-2-1-Donihue.pdf. The first author listed is Colby College professor Michael Donihue.

Also speaking virtually, China Lake Association President Stephen Greene said the organization has applied for a grant for work around China Lake that, if approved, would include improvements at the boat landing in South China.

His report sparked a brief discussion of the landing. Greene said the lake association currently favors a carry-in only, unpaved landing; two select board members consider a paved area a longer-lasting option.

Hapgood said if funds for improvements become available, there will be additional discussions, especially with South China Village residents.

The manager presented the third lake issue: she reported that the dock at the head of the lake broke over the weekend. China’s public works crew responded and are working on repairs that Hapgood hoped would be completed in a few days.

In other business May 22:

  • Select board members awarded summer paving work to the low bidder, Maine-ly Paving Services, LLC, of Canaan, at a price of $87.75 per ton of paving mix.
  • They awarded the summer mowing bid to the only bidder, Pierce Works, LLC, of China, for a price of $4,900 for one mowing or $9,800 for two mowings.
  • Two items were postponed: proposed amendments to the Planning Board Ordinance, recommended by the planning board and scheduled tentatively for presentation to voters in November; and local penalty assessment guidelines.

Absentee ballots for China’s June 13 annual town business meeting are now available, as is the new town report.

Overall school budget looks good

At the May 22 China select board meeting, Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 Superintendent Carl Gartley said the overall regional budget is up 2.93 percent, and China’s share is up 2.08 percent, or about $106,000.

“In today’s economy, I thought that was pretty darn good,” Gartley said.

He reported that RSU students are doing well educationally, and the district is financially secure, with reserve funds built up in the last few years.

China Middle School has a new 300-foot well, after months of bottled water use since PFAS was found in the old well. If the new well does not solve the problem, an expensive treatment system will be installed.

China Primary School’s well water tested fine, Gartley said.

Plans for this summer’s work in China include re-siding China Elementary School (a big building, Gartley commented) and adding four pickleball courts for public use. The new courts will be between the softball outfield and the parking lot; they will not be lighted.

The next regular China select board meeting will be Monday evening, June 5.


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