Bridgton Selectmen: Showing Dorothy some love

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Quietly, Dorothy Nassif has shown her “love” for Bridgton.

With her husband, David, they purchased a summer camp on Highland Lake in 1935 and spent every summer there since — that’s 81 years.

She has generously provided financial help for many local projects including building a patient room at Bridgton Hospital, development of Pondicherry Park, building of the new Lakes Environmental Association science center, funded a Chamber of Commerce downtown roof painting project, provided financial assistance to enable LEA to purchase water quality monitoring equipment for Highland Lake, and in 2006, Dorothy’s family funded the redevelopment of the children’s play area at the town beach to honor her many years spending summers in Bridgton.

Tuesday night, Bridgton showed its love for Dorothy.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Greg Watkins presented Dorothy with a plaque and flowers in honor of her 100th birthday on Sept. 24, 2016.

With a big smile, Dorothy accepted the gifts and added, “I love Bridgton!”

  • Bathroom construction, take two — Town Manager Bob Peabody, in his report, informed selectmen that the Public Works Department is now working on the Woods Pond bathroom.

“As a result of reviewing the structural components, concerns were raised regarding the structural integrity of the building. It was concluded that the best course of action was demolishing the structure with the intent of reusing whatever could be salvaged,” Peabody said. “A test pit was dug, which indicated that the building could be set lower.”

The town could seek legal action against the contractor, Altus Construction of Saco, which was awarded the contract for about $47,000. The project was funded solely through the Community Development Block Grant program.

“We have taken pictures throughout the process to document the deficiencies,” Peabody added. “Reconstruction will utilize remaining CDBG funds ($8,700) and town funds.”

Peabody estimated it could take$15,000 in town funds, which would come from a contingency budget line. Peabody added that some businesses sold “materials at cost.”

Local resident Mark Lopez informed selectmen that he was “disgusted by the waste of taxpayer money” as the result of the project going bad. He noted there was a “gross lack of oversight” and wondered what corrective measures the town planned to take, now and in the future.

Board Chairman Greg Watkins said one layer of oversight on future town projects could be the use of a clerk of the works. Selectman Bear Zaidman volunteered to serve as a “clerk” on future ventures, noting his extensive background overseeing extensive projects. He suggested that the town manager check with Maine Municipal Association regarding his ability to serve in this capacity. Zaidman reiterated that Wayne Warner had voiced in interest in serving as a clerk of the works.

Lopez suggested that some smaller projects could use a third party responsible for inspecting and tracking the work. This cost would be included within the project’s bidding process.

“I am not the type of guy that wants to spend money frivolously,” Lopez said. “I hope you follow through with the legal aspect and recover what we can.”

Town officials also learned that the Woods Pond property owners want to pitch in by donating funds to address the rooftops over the beach’s picnic areas. Selectmen suggested that the rooftops match what is used on the bathroom facility — at the moment, steel roofing. The group had looked at cedar shingles, but found the price a little too high. They then checked into asphalt shingles.

  • Fire chief interviews — The first round has been completed. Three candidates were interviewed last Thursday by the Fire Chief Interview Panel. Second interviews will be held this week.
  • Sewer user numbers — Town Manager Peabody noted that all town eateries on the wastewater system had been inspected. A total of 235 “equivalent users” was determined. Reviewing wastewater flows to two town septic disposal areas, it was determined that the Dodge Field can accommodate 37 additional equivalent users and the Lower Ballfield can accommodate 20.
  • Oldies but Goodies in town— The 2016 AAA Glidden Auto Tour pulls into town this morning, Thursday. Tour participants — from 33 states and from Canada will arrive in their pre-1943 vehicles from Denmark via South High Street. They will travel down Main Street and onto Depot Street, where drivers and passengers will enjoy coffee and morning treats. A portion of the town-owned parking lot will be closed for the antique cars, which will also be parked along Depot Street.

Some vehicle owners will drive their relics to Stevens Brook Elementary School to show students, as well as make a stop at Bridgton Health Care. The public is encouraged to stop by. Almost 200 antique cars are expected to be part of this year’s tour. Cars will be in the Bridgton area from around 8 to 10 a.m.

  • A run in Adam’s honor — Although Elizabeth Perron lives in Harrison, when the idea arose to hold a benefit 5K in memory of her late husband, Adam, and to raise money for a scholarship fund for educators, she felt Bridgton was the best location.

Elizabeth grew up in Bridgton.

Adam also was born and raised here, and he discovered his love of teaching while serving as an environmental educator with LEA, which led him to becoming a middle school science teacher. He was tragically killed in an automobile crash in Casco.

Selectmen approved Elizabeth’s request to hold the three-miler on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. She explained that the fund was created this past spring to assist others in their pursuit of an education degree.

The race begins at Highland Lake, includes time in Pondicherry Park and concludes in the Depot Street parking area.

Elizabeth informed selectmen that she had spoken to the Pondicherry Park Committee and Bridgton Police Chief Richard Stillman. Selectman Paul Hoyt raised the question of police coverage during the event. Chief Stillman said one officer would be on duty and help with the race, while a second officer would be added. He noted that the department still has some “community policing funds” available, which could be used to cover the additional on-duty time.

Elizabeth expects the event to go rain or shine, and registration will soon be available online — stay tuned.

The request was approved.

  • More public comment time — Robert Casimiro has attended municipal meetings in other communities and noticed that agendas included two opportunities for the public to make comments — once early in the meeting and once later.

To accommodate members of the public’s work schedules, selectmen agreed to add more public comment opportunities on non-agenda items. They will, however, restrict the comment period to three minutes each.

  • Time for voters to decide? — As Corrinne Davis prepares for her exit as an early member of the Bridgton Recreation Advancement Group (BRAG), she feels it is time — maybe overdue — to let voters decide on the November ballot whether to accept the athletic complex on BRAG Way.

Since town sports teams have used the facility for a few years now, Davis suggested it is time for the town to take it over.

Selectmen noted that they have met with BRAG officials regarding pieces of the project that still need to be worked on, and wondered if now is the right time to put the question out to voters. A second meeting will be held later in the month.

“It’s not an albatross,” Davis said. “It’s a gem.”

Selectman Paul Hoyt agreed that a vote in November would be truly representative of what local folks feel should be done with the facility since a large turnout is expected due to the presidential election.

Selectmen, however, voted down the request to put the question on the ballot by a 3–2 margin (Watkins, Hoyt in favor), instead feeling all particulars should be worked out before bringing the question to voters.

Davis, however, hinted that if selectmen refused to put the question on the ballot, she would circulate a citizen’s petition to force the item onto the November ballot, even though time is becoming a factor.

  • When will roads be paved? — Resident Philip Bauckman describes traveling on Bennett, Elm and Iredale Streets like “going down a cow path.”

In a letter to selectmen, Bauckman questioned when the town planned to address the condition of these roadways.

“It seems that the priority of road repair is in the wrong places, for instance, the Mt. Henry Road is a dead-end road,” he wrote. “I am a taxpayer and love Bridgton, where I grew up as a young man. I appreciate how you are trying to make Bridgton attractive to newcomers and wish that these streets could be reviewed in the future. The road at the corner of Bennett and Chase Street is an eyesore.”

Well, the wait will likely be a tad bit longer.

Public Works Director Jim Kidder pointed out that money would be wasted if the roadways were paved, and then a short time later, torn back up as the town addresses its sewer and water systems.

  • Paint disposal — Transfer Station Director Bob Fitzcharles supports the town joining the Maine Architectural Paint Stewardship Program, giving local residents an outlet to rid themselves of unused, out-dated and unwanted paint, lacquers and paint cans.

A roll-off container will be used to dispose of paint and paint cans, at no charge and during transfer station operating hours, to local taxpayers.

Presently, Hayes True Value is the only other local disposal location in town.

  • License approved — Selectmen approved a liquor license for Clipper Merchant Tea House, located at 32 Main Street.
  • Parking questions on hold — Some have complained about cars being parked for excessive periods of time on Main Street, but at the moment, there are currently no restrictions except during a snow emergency or on July 4.

“This is not a public safety issue, but more of a quality of life issue for businesses and for those who choose to leave their motor vehicles on the street,” Police Chief Richard Stillman noted. “As such, I would recommend the town to hold a public hearing to get the public’s input on what they feel should be done, if anything.”

Options could be restricting Main Street parking to two or four hour limit during business hours, and no overnight parking.

The chief noted that the BPD would not be able to enforce a two or four-hour limit, “as we could not have our one officer marking tires and checking times.”

Town Manager Peabody made some revisions to the town’s Parking Ordinance including:

  • Parking on both sides of Main Street from Pondicherry Square to the monument is limited to two hours between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Vehicles exceeding the time limit might be subject to a parking fine.
  • Municipal parking lots shall be closed to overnight parking between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., coinciding with beach hours.

Selectmen tabled action on the matter and will hold a public hearing on Oct. 25, giving business owners and the general public an opportunity to comment and offer input.

  • Still irked — Selectman Bernie King remains irked that people continue to post signs for sales, etc. on town-owned property, especially at the monument on Main Hill, as well as the veteran’s park on Depot Street. One culprit has been the Farmers’ Market. It was suggested the market officials speak with Frank Howell to see if their sign could be placed on the Magic Lantern property.
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