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Bristol selectmen discuss upcoming projects


February 08, 2012
BRISTOL — On Feb. 2, the Bristol Board of Selectmen met in the downstairs meeting room of the town offices to discuss several up and coming projects projected to occur in Bristol this spring.

The board began the meeting by discussing the water and sewer project that is projected to cost $815,000, a much lower cost than the board had expected.

"We had expected it to cost a lot more," said board Chairman Rick Alpers.

This cost would include replacing all of the existing piping downtown, which is currently a mixture of pipeline ranging from the 1800's to the 1950's.

Jeff Chartier, the Water and Sewer Superintendent, pointed out that the six inch line that runs through Central Square is "inadequate for fire protection," not allowing enough water or water pressure into building's fire suppression systems. These lines will be increased to 10 inches, and all of the lateral feeds running from buildings will be inspected and replaced as necessary.

If the project passes, construction would start in late March to early April.

"Major replacement would be done by Christmas, but the project will linger into fall," said Alpers.

With the bulk of the construction occurring in the busy summer months, traffic tie ups and detours were a major concern.

Pleasant Street was a major traffic concern.

"Pleasant Street is so narrow, and there won't be a work around," said Town Administrator Michael Capone.

In talking with the engineers, Capone said that the plan was to attack Pleasant Street first and get that out of the way before summer traffic becomes a major issue.

Another concern surrounding construction was how closed roads and detours would affect the local businesses. Capone has been meeting and beginning discussions with local business owners to best fit their needs into the project.

"We were really concerned that there weren't many business owners here last time," said Alpers. "We've started having these discussions with the business owners."

The board has been meeting with local businesses to help address their major concerns with the piping project.

"Parking was a major concern," said Selectman Joe Denning. "The number of parking spots, handicapped parking, trucks parking for deliveries and employee parking were concerns."

There will be another local business meeting on Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. in the TB Bank building.

The board concluded that the key to the success of the sewer project will be working together.

"What is going to be key to these projects is coordination," said Denning.

The board then moved on to discuss the Minot Sleeper Library project. With the project projected to cost $888,000 in construction alone, the board discussed their financial options, looking at the difference between bond banks and using a local bank.

"There is certainly more flexibility with payback going with a bank," said Capone.

Not only would going through a bank be more flexible, he explained; it wouldn't involve a $7,500 bond fee or a $3,000 bond council fee.

"I would rather use local banks for these projects," added Alpers.

The Library Trustees have been raising money though donations, and through the trustee's fund to pay for many aspects of this project.

"All of the things that have been done with this project so far have been funded by the library," said library trustee Barbra Greenwood.

The trustees also realize that the cost of the project is only the cost of construction, and that furnishing the proposed new addition will be funded through donations.

"We are hoping that if this passes in March, we will get even more money," said library trustee Chairman Wendy Costigan.

The Mica Building was also discussed by the board members, who are looking to figure out some of that project's details. With a proposed $200,000 budget to tear down the building and create a park space and extra parking in Central Square, the board expressed a bit of concern what might happen if the $200,000 runs out and the project is left unfinished.

"My understanding is when the $200,000 is gone, we are back on our own money," said Capone.

Ultimately, the plan is to at least have the space be filled to grade, loamed and seeded to create a space for recreational activities.

Another concern with the Mica Building was that the road would need to be closed to traffic, potentially causing another inconvenience to local businesses and to trucks using that road to haul in deliveries. With the project projected to take between 14 to 21 days, the board hopes to create as little impact on local businesses as possible.

"We are working on the details to maximize the results and decrease the inconvenience," assured Capone.

The Board of Selectmen meets again on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. in the downstairs meeting room of the town offices at 6 p.m.

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