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Wakefield selectmen waive local fees for Food Pantry building

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

A BIG CHECK FOR A BIG LEASE. Wakefield Food Pantry members delivered a check for $1 to selectmen on April 25 to pay the 99-year lease of town land for the new building they plan to build next of the Highway Department. Pictured are (l-r) Wakefield Selectman Chair Ken Paul, Selectmen Charlie Edwards and Peter Kasprzyk, and Wakefield Food Pantry Directors Howie Knight and Dave Schweitzer. Missing from the photo is Pantry President Janet Miller. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
May 03, 2012
WAKEFIELD — Representatives of the Wakefield Food Pantry came to the April 25 meeting of the Board of Selectmen to thank the board for its support and to pay the rent for the 99-year lease of town land approved by voters in March.

Food Pantry Directors Howie Knight and Dave Schweitzer presented a giant check for $1 to selectmen.

Food Pantry President Janet Miller said there were three bid packages out for the new building. She expects that a final decision on a contractor should be made by the time the lot is cleared.

Selectman Peter Kasprzyk said the trees to be removed have been marked and bids should go out right away with the goal of making a decision at the next board meeting on May 9. Choosing a contractor by then would allow the lot to be clear by mid-May. Clearing stumps would have to be done after the trees are harvested. He wondered if Tom Dube could do the stump clearing.

Town Administrator Teresa Williams said she doesn't think there is enough time to get the bids advertised in the paper and still allow 10 days notice of bid opening by May 9. Aiming for bids to be opened on May 23 would make more sense.

Schweitzer said May 23 would work if construction could proceed by the first week of June. The board agreed to proceed on that schedule.

Kasprzyk moved that the town waive all local fees, including those for building permits, for the Food Pantry building project. The approval was unanimous.

Miller noted that the proposed buffer zone was now 70 feet instead of 50 because the state had clear about 20 feet along Route 153 and a minimum buffer of 50 feet was needed beyond that.

Knight reported that an anonymous foundation will provide two-to-one matching funds to erect the building, which is estimated to cost $150,000, including contingencies. The two-to-one match means that $50,000 needs to be raised. Fundraising has already started and so far the effort has collected $16,000. Anyone interested in contributing material, time or money should call Knight at 522-3097 or e-mail him at hknight@roadrunner.com. Contributions to the building fund can also be mailed to Wakefield Food Pantry, P.O. Box 426, Sanbornville, NH 03872. Donations should plainly state they are for the "capital fund" or the "building fund" in order for the pantry to get the matching donation.

Heritage Commission

Heritage Commission Chairman Pam Judge asked selectmen to write a letter to the National Park Service supporting the commission's application to place the Newichawannock Canal and Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places.

She said there were issues to be addressed in making the application and eventually restoring the bridge. The first is that the bridge is jointly owned by the towns of Wakefield and Acton, Maine, so the support of both is needed to proceed. The second is that the project would require getting approvals from both states, Maine and New Hampshire. A third issue is that Acton is not a CLG or Certified Local Government community eligible for CLG grants from the National Park Service (Wakefield was certified in October 2006), but Acton is actively looking into become certified.

Judge said she was getting letters of support from others but needed a letter from the town as a co-owner of the bridge. She added that the bridge has already been determined to be eligible for the National Register. The letter is the first step toward getting the bridge repaired.

Selectman Charlie Edwards asked if the bridge can be used if it's on the National Register.

Judge answered there are no restrictions on use, but if you do not follow register standards in maintaining the bridge it would be taken off the register.

Selectman Chair Ken Paul asked if the town could put a new deck on the bridge.

Judge answered that there have been four meetings on fixing the bridge and she understood that the best idea is to do an overlay and not allow really heavy trucks to use the bridge in the future.

The board approved sending the letter.

Letters of Appreciation

Edwards said he was concerned that in deciding to send letters of appreciation the board "is just looking for people to send one to," implying that sometimes the board had to reach to find a suitable candidate. He said he thought it would be better if the person to send one to "came from out of the blue," more spontaneously.

Paul asked him what standard would he use to select a candidate? In his view a letter of appreciation "goes a long way" in making people feel good about what they do. He said his own standard was to look for people "with community spirit who do great things."

Connie Twombley spoke from the audience to say that she looks forward to seeing who is getting a letter of appreciation each month. "There are lots of people who deserve it," she said.

Paul said his choice for April was Mary Richards, a past member of the Conservation Commission, a Supervisor of the Checklist, and ballot clerk who has helped out in many areas of town government, including the police department: "she definitely deserves it," he said.

Edwards joined Paul and Kasprzyk in voting for Richards to get a letter.

Other business

Williams informed the board that the Safe Routes to School Committee, which has been meeting since last November, is applying for a $4,990 startup grant to do surveys and plan improvements. Improvements sought include painting crosswalks, providing bike helmets to kids who don't have them, installing a solar speed sign and more school zone signs. No public hearing was needed to accept the startup grant, Williams said.

Attorney Don Whittum has written two letters concerning issues at the town beach and skateboard park. Edwards suggested moving the skateboard park behind the Parks and Recreation building where it can be monitored. Kasprzyk suggested converting the tennis court in Forest Hills that no one uses. Paul recommended asking the Parks and Recreation Committee to discuss the issues and come back to the board with recommendations.

Edwards reported that Parks and Rec has interviewed four or five candidates as camp counselors and will interview the same number more next week for two or three positions, depending on signups.

Edwards also reported that the school board is considering replacing the in-house cafeteria with a company called Café Services. He said the food samples provided were good and that the company would likely hire current staff.

Williams reported that the Eagle Scout certificate will be presented on Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m. Both Edwards and Kasprzyk will attend.

Williams also reported that a new flagpole, donated by the Heritage Commission, has been installed in Jette Park by Phil Twonbley and Dennis Clough; forest fire wardens have been appointed; the cemetery trustees have received their computer and software and have started entering data; and the MS-5 form reporting the voter-approved budget for the year, has been completed by auditors Vachon Clukay.

When Williams reported receipt of the $1,200 grant to Wakefield Police for sobriety checkpoints, Videographer Ed Comeau asked selectmen if they had looked at the grant in terms of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Edwards says he shares that concern but also wants to get drunks off the road and has faith in the Wakefield Police Department. Paul said the checkpoints are well-publicized. Kasprzyk added, "you would have to be drunk not to know about them."

The next meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen will be on May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall meeting room.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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