Officials: Can new roof support tower?

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The Town of Naples wants to be 100 percent certain the roof of the new Museum and Visitors’ Center building can handle any additional weight — where the town’s original fire hose tower sits.

Although removing the hose tower is one of the options, it is not one that town officials favor. And, a public vote a few years ago proves a sentiment to save the fire hose tower.

The Naples Board of Selectmen selected the solution of finding out from the supplier Mainely Trusses what is required to strengthen the trusses to support any sort of weather — and to keep the hose tower in place.

The board’s decision was also recommended by Museum Curator Merry Watson, who read the engineer’s report.

Two weeks ago, the town hired engineer Mark Gray, president of JAMM, a firm in Poland. He wrote up a report presenting the town’s options.

“We contracted Mark to look at deficiencies,” Selectman Rick Paraschak said, “as far as engineering to fix, to brace the tower sufficiently both against wind shear and snow weight.”

“It isn’t like the roof is going to cave in, we just wanted to take extra precaution” against New England weather, he said, adding the tower was on a building for 50-plus years and survived.

The board agreed that saving the hose tower was a priority. The vintage hose tower had been rescued from the older building, and residents wanted it salvaged, Paraschak said.

“It’s a nice addition. It needs to stay,” he said.

According to Paraschak, the town will bear the cost of the engineering — as stated according to the bid contract. The contractor agreed to pay for the necessary bracing — or other solutions to reinforce the trusses.

“The engineering was always our cost. We paid Pine Tree Engineering, that’s the way it is in the bid,” he said.

The contractor, Henry Turcotte, said he thought the trusses were sufficient to hold the weight of the tower, but he wanted to get the job finished — according to the recent requests.

“We need to get the truss company to okay it. Then, I will do whatever I need for braces. I will pay extra to make it safe,” Turcotte said. “But, the town should pay for the second engineers.”

“I just want to get it done. I just want to finish the project,” he said.

“The engineering part was always going to be our nickel anyway,” Paraschak said.

Selectman Robert “Bob” Caron Sr. asked, “Are we looking at more engineering costs? Is Mark’s engineering study adequate to move ahead?”

Selectman Paraschak responded, “We contracted Pine Tree Engineering. The bid document gave us a cost to go to the State Fire Marshal. Whoever got the job would have had the same scenario” of needing to contract a second engineer.

“In hindsight, should we have gotten Pine Tree to do everything?” Paraschak said.

Town Manager Derik Goodine said the most recent report cost $750.

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