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Bristol selectmen deny permit for circus

June 06, 2012
BRISTOL—The Bristol Board of Selectmen met on May 31 in the downstairs meeting room in the town offices at 6 p.m.

The meeting began on a positive note, with the board recognizing several town employees from the fire and police department for promotions and welcoming a new officer to the Bristol Police Department.

"Nights like tonight are what make doing this job really enjoyable," said Chairman of the board Rick Alpers. "Taking the time to recognize employees for what they do for the town, and the good work they do."

First, the board recognized recently promoted Deputy Fire Chief Christopher Golloff, congratulating him on his recent promotion to the position.

"He has been responsible for overseeing the training and certifications of firefighters and EMT's within the department," said Alpers, who also noted that Golloff started his career with the Bristol Fire Department as an explorer in high school.

The police department had several recognitions, beginning with Christopher Bean, who was recently promoted from Operations Sergeant to Operations Lieutenant.

"It has been a couple of years since we have had a lieutenant in our police department," said Alpers. "We did some restructuring once the new chief was on board."

Bean began as a full time officer at the Bristol Police Department in 2006, and was promoted to Operations Sergeant in 2010.

"We are proud of how quickly you have advanced, and hope you spend a long time in our community and at the department," said Alpers.

Also, John Guarnieri was recognized as a new member of the Bristol Police Department. Guarnieri has come on board as a patrol officer.

"With the promotion and some vacancies, we were able to hire the ninth member of the Bristol Police Department, another patrol officer," said Alpers. "We are very excited to have him on board."

The hot topic of the evening was a discussion over permits required to allow the Lion's Club to host the circus in Kelley Park, already being advertised for July.

"I don't have any problem with permit requests one through four, but I do want to have a discussion about the circus," said Alpers. "Do you know how much damage they would do to the park, even if it was a dry day, or week?"

Board member Joe Denning, also in charge of organizing the circus as a member of the Lion's Club, explained that the forms are tedious, unfriendly and long, but that Kelly Park was only plan A, and there is a plan B in the works.

"It wouldn't be a question of the town spending anything if something were to happen," said Denning. "They told me they leave the place as spotless as before they came."

Other board members were concerned that permitting a circus to take place in Kelley Park would put the park into disrepair.

"I am a little concerned that in my nine years, we have put over $100,000 into that park, and it has never looked any better than it does, and my fear is that something of this caliber could do some damage," said Alpers.

Not only has money and time been put into the park to make it a fun place for families and children to spend their time, he said, but Kelley Park is also a playing field for middle school athletes.

"I heard there was damage to the field (in Laconia, when the same circus came last summer), and my concern would be, this isn't just a park; it is a playing field for middle school, and any damage is going to cause problems," said board member Phil Dion.

Denning noted that the circus used to be a big event for the community 30 years ago, and that there have been requests to have the circus back in town.

"The last time we had this event, it was 30 years ago, down near where the basketball court used to be, and where the jungle gym is now," said Denning. "We have had requests for events like this, and it seemed like a really good, clean setup."

The tent would be 300 feet by 300 feet, and would be erected in the park at 9 a.m. with trucks, trailers, animals, staging and a high volume of foot traffic creating a high risk for field destruction, which concerned the board.

"It seems like harder use than what it was designed for," said board member Don Milbrand.

Alpers assured the community and the board that Kelley Park is meant for the community, and is to be used as a community asset, but that events of this caliber jeopardize the parks' continued use as a community asset.

"I don't want it to be perceived that the park isn't a community asset; that it can't be used for events — it can be," said Alpers. "This is an event of a different caliber."

The permits for the circus were not passed by the board, leaving Denning to come up with a plan B.

"I really didn't anticipate this much pushback, to be honest," said Denning.

In other business, the board addressed the bids to sell three parcels of land that they agreed to put out to bid at a previous meeting. Michael Sharp bid on all three parcels of land, offering $10,800 for a two-acre lot on Chesnut Road, $7,800 for a 1.6-acre lot on Ridge Road, and $6,800 for a 1.8-acre lot on Brookwood Park Road.

"I think those are very competitive bids for those lots, and we appreciate that," said Alpers after the board accepted all three bids.

The board also touched on some reoccurring items from their previous meeting, including sending out bids for fuel so the board can look at and potentially accept a bid by July 1, and preparation to use the state's fuel shed to fuel the town's diesel run equipment.

"They are adding more positions to the key bank," explained Town Administrator Michael Capone. "As soon as they have retrofitted that, we should be able to drive there and get diesel fuel when we need it."

The board discussed working on brushing up the town's fireworks policy now that summer and fireworks season is in full swing, agreed upon extending dump hours on the upper level only on Wednesdays, and discussed some finishing touches to Cummings Beach.

"Overall, most of the construction work is done," said Capone. "They put a grate over the end, they put an extra piece of curb granite in front of the outlet pipe to contain water and allow it to peculate down through the filtration swale."

Capone also announced that town officials are looking to have blueberry bushes donated to put at the beach, and are also considering a wildflower mix to add more growth and color to the area.

In the Town Administrator's Report, Capone updated the board on his research and continued communication with UMG to save money on energy.

"We are by no means pioneering a new path," said Capone. "More than half the communities in the state are heading down this road already."

Capone also updated the board on the downtown project, noting that the project was in the back and fourth phase where he and the project manager are sending e mails back and forth to get details ironed out.

"What we consider a project is actually three different projects, with three different funding sources and three sets of rules you play by," said Capone. "So we have to bounce from one to the other."

In the Town Administrator's report, Capone also updated the board about the progress of the Minot- Sleeper Library expansion, noting that they are preparing to put their final plans out to bid soon.

"They're trying to finish drawing up their final plans," said Capone.

Lastly, Capone reopened discussion about creating a new trail with the Snowmobile Club that would connect Old Hill Village to the center of town, a plan that has been talked about for several years, but has never been put into place.

"What an asset, to connect Old Hill Village and the other existing trails to the town," said Alpers. "To have people biking, walking and snowmobiling in the winter to all the local businesses is huge."

There was discussion about contacting Congressman Charlie Bass to get the project up and running.

"I think it is time to call Charlie Bass and say, 'Remember this project, we are stuck,'" said Denning.

The Board of Selectmen meets again on Thursday, June 14 at 6 p.m. in the downstairs meeting room in the town offices.

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