Bridgton short takes: Town Hall progress, student rep joins board

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

The reshaping of the historic Town Hall continues.

With the building now stabilized, work continues both inside and out. Bridgton selectmen toured the facility prior to their board meeting Tuesday night.

Town Manager Bob Peabody, along with Public Works Director Jim Kidder and Economic Development Director Anne Krieg, outlined completed work and “things still to do.”

One new door had been installed on the left side of the structure with three more doors scheduled for replacement. New double-pane windows are on order, and will be installed upon their arrival.

A new “entry card” system will be installed, replacing the “button” front lock.

“Over the years, half the town probably has keys to get into the hall,” Peabody said. “The card system allows us to decode it once the person is no longer allowed inside the building during off hours.”

In keeping with the building’s “historic” nature, Peabody suggested that exterior vinyl siding be replaced with wood clapboards.

“Some of the current siding is so degraded that it no longer is able to stay in its channels,” he said.

Wood planking along the sidewalls has buckled in places, so the town will look to resurface the area with gypsum used frequently inside gyms.

Another area needing to be addressed is the ceiling, along with lighting. Krieg suggested that discussion should occur regarding what athletic activities will be allowed inside the hall — such as hitting baseballs — before making a decision on ceiling material.

A propane hot air heating system will soon be installed. Once it is and is operational, the Town Hall will be ready for use, once more. At this point, the town has spent $441,893 on hall improvements.

Elections will be held at the Town Hall on Nov. 3. If it is cold, warmers will be brought in.

New student representative on the board of selectmen, Colleen Messina. (Rivet Photo)

New student representative on the board of selectmen, Colleen Messina. (Rivet Photo)

Student on the Board

When Bernie King attended a SAD 61 School Board meeting, he noticed that a Lake Region High School student was at the head table.

He liked the idea of a student gaining an inside look at government by serving as a “student representative.” So, he suggested that Bridgton selectmen follow suit.

A junior from Bridgton, Colleen Messina has a serious interest in history, might someday become a journalist, and felt serving as a student representative would offer her the chance to meet new people and learn more about her hometown.

Selectmen welcomed Colleen to the board Tuesday night. She can express her views regarding issues, but will not be a voting member of the board.

House-cleaning

  • Selectmen approved the Forest Hills Cemetery deed to Edward and Mildred Hatch.
  • Selectmen approved the appointment of Christina Lowell as Warden and Marita Wiser as Deputy Warden for the Nov. 3 election.
  • The town is still looking for individuals interested in serving on the Capital Improvement Committee. To date, “three viable” candidates applied, Peabody reported. A minimum of five members are needed.
  • Peabody informed selectmen that the town signed a heating oil contract with CN Brown for a rate of $1.89 per gallon.
  • To date, the town has received seven applications for the Finance Officer position. “Some high-quality individuals,” Peaboby said. “It’s an exciting process.”

The last date to apply is this Friday, Oct. 30.

  • Bridgton’s proposed 2016 state valuation is $942,750,000, as determined by the Maine Revenue Service. The 2015 value was $961,500,000. The state valuation lags actual market values and municipal assessments by nearly two years by the time it is final and certified, Peabody wrote in his manager’s report.

Peabody noted that he is now a Bridgton resident, having signed papers on a local home.

  • On the revaluation front, John E. O’Donnell Associates reports that 44% of the field work and data entry have been completed.
  • Krieg noted that the Request of Qualification regarding the Main Street streetscape project is due this Thursday. She suggested a committee be formed to review proposals and narrow choices down to three to five.

The committee will include Krieg, Public Works Director Jim Kidder, Lucia Terry (who is currently contracted by the town for Main Street landscaping), a member from Lakes Environmental Association (who can bring some expertise regarding “creative” stormwater solutions), a member from the Community Development Committee and a selectman. Selectman Ken Murphy offered to represent the board.

The final selection will be made by the board of selectmen.

Streets closed Halloween

In previous years, several in-town streets have been closed Halloween night as a safety measure for little Trick or Treaters.

This year, the town Halloween party has been moved to the municipal complex because of continued renovation of the Town Hall on North High Street.

Selectmen voted to close Iredale, Chase, Elm and Bennett Streets from 4 to 9 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 31.

Selectman Paul Hoyt reminded Peabody to check with local police regarding closing a portion of Depot Street on Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day, due to a brief ceremony in the square.

Getting the word out

With the vote on the proposed Sewer Ordinance set for this coming Tuesday, Peabody noted that a copy of the proposed rules and rate schedule is available at the town office and on the town website. Peabody is also making himself available to answer the public’s questions regarding the ordinance.

Selectmen debated whether they should start a public awareness campaign, by placing vote “Yes” signs around town and offer fact sheets to voters at the Transfer Station.

Because the Transfer Station can be hectic due to steady traffic flow, Selectman Greg Watkins recommended that information be handed out at a designated spot. Selectman Bob McHatton pointed out that tables have been placed up against the station’s building, to the right of the “Store” doorway.

Town officials have heard complaints in the past from residents disposing their trash being “accosted” by individuals seeking signatures for petitions. Peabody suggested that selectmen hold a future discussion on the matter and develop a policy to address the issue.

 

 

 

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