Hole in roof caused Town Hall water damage

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton has filed an insurance claim after an inspection found a visible hole in the roof of the Town Hall.

Town Manager Bob Peabody said Tuesday Bob McHatton Jr. found the hole a few weeks back while conducting an inspection of water damage at the building.

Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen voted to hold a special meeting next Tuesday, June 2, at 4 p.m. to award the contract for the $400,000 stabilization project approved by voters last year. The meeting will come just one week before voters decide on a citizens’ petition that would require no funds to be spent on the Town Hall until all repair costs are known and decided on by voters.

McHatton’s inspection found areas of rot on sill plating, wet plaster and lathes and a small area of flooring, all on the Bridgton side of the building. His recommendation is that the walls be opened up to inspect for mold and wet insulation, and to see if there’s been further rotting of sills.

Anne Krieg, Director of Planning, Economic and Community Development, said the inspection of the inside of the building by Eric Dube of Casco Engineering, including a mold inspection, is not yet complete. She said, in a separate phone interview, that part of Dube’s report will include an analysis of repair costs of any interior damage found.

Krieg said the hole was very small, yet visible, and located near some flashing. She did not know why the hole was not discovered during Dube’s exterior study done last year.

Peabody said the town’s insurance company has sent an adjustor, but he doesn’t know whether all the damage will be covered by the claim.

“You never know what an insurance company is going to do,” he said. They may pay to repair the hole, but it’s less certain whether insurance would cover the resulting water damage, he said. He did say that all of the damage is repairable. “It can be dried up.”

Board member Bob McHatton asked whether the hole had been covered over, and Peabody said it had not, because he assumed the adjuster needed to inspect the damage as it was. McHatton said the hole needed to be covered immediately.

“It could be seen as neglect,” he said.

Woods Pond bathhouse

In other action, the board agreed to table, until June 2, a decision on redirecting $68,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to build a bathhouse at the town beach on Woods Pond. The bathhouse would replace existing rustic bathrooms there.

The existing facility has no running water, and resident Glen “Bear” Zaidman asked how water would be provided for the bathhouse. He said water from the pond could be used for the toilets, but not for the sinks.

Woods Pond resident Barry Denofrio suggested that the beach could also benefit from other improvements. The signs there should be moved, he said, because they obstruct the view of the pond, and a shed on the site has been damaged and is an eyesore. New firepits need to be built as well, and moved from their current location under birch trees.

Selectman Doug Taft said he favored using the CDBG funds at Woods Pond Beach. “That beach is used as much if not more than Highland Lake Beach,” where a new bathhouse was recently completed using $36,000 in FEMA funds. The $68,000 originally had been earmarked for the Highland Lake bathhouse, and now that the funds are not needed there, they need to be spent somewhere else, Krieg said.

Only Selectman Paul Hoyt made any alternative suggestion on how to spend the money. He said that if local developers Criterion Development, who took on the Highland Lake bathhouse project, could be persuaded to do the same for the same amount at Woods Pond, the balance of the funds could then be used on the Town Hall.

Peabody said he would look into it, but suggested Criterion’s help with the Highland Lake bathhouse might have been intended as a one-time offer.

The town has scheduled a gathering on Friday, May 29, at 10 a.m. at the Highland Lake bathhouse to show their appreciation for the help from Criterion’s developers, Mark Lopez and Justin McIver.



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