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Cheshire Sets Special Town Meeting For Stabilization Transfer

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town will schedule a special town meeting to transfer funds from stabilization to make emergency repairs to the fire station roof.
 
Selectwoman Carol Francesconi told her colleagues Tuesday that they need to schedule a special town meeting before snowfall to allocate possibly $90,000 to make the repairs.
 
"This is the only way we are going to be able to fix this," she said. "Even if we wanted a new fire station we aren't going to be able to do that overnight. We still need to have a fire station we need a town meeting."
 
The town originally hired Douglas J Wooliver & Sons Inc. to make repairs to a portion of the roof over the kitchen area but extensive rot was found when the roof was removed. Work stopped and, in early August, a portion of the ceiling collapsed over the women's bathroom and over the chief's office.
 
The town was hesitant to make any repairs without knowing what condition the other two sections of the roof were in. Wooliver inspected the remaining sections and found no issues.
 
However, the first section needs to be completely rebuilt and Francesconi said this is slated to cost between $70,000 and $90,000 – far more than the original simple repair.
 
"Those two sections are fine, but the first section is going to have to be rebuilt," she said. "They have to rebuild the structure underneath the roof."
 
Town Administrator Mark Webber said the town has a solid level of stabilization (just under $600,000) and the town has annually allocated money for such emergency capital repairs.
 
"You have been setting aside money for capital stabilization just for this reason," Webber said. "You guys are healthy."
 
Selectman Robert Ciskowski said the town has been responsible with stabilization.
 
"We always put money in it we never take anything out," he said. "We have been good, and we haven't tapped it."
 
Francesconi agreed and said they have only used stabilization once during her tenure but noted it wasn't an easy sell to town meeting.
 
The Selectmen will likely schedule the meeting sooner than later to ensure the project is completed before winter.
 
In other business, the Selectmen opened six bids from contractors interested in fall paving projects.
 
Last month, the selectmen voted to use $250,000 from Chapter 90 to pave Maple Drive, a section of Wells Road, and West Mountain Road. These roads were considered the worst in the town.
 
Unfortunately, the town had to nix Maple Drive from the list because it is not on the state's list of accepted roads therefore ineligible for Chapter 90 reimbursement.
 
"Maple Drive has been deleted," Ciskowski said. "We really don't have a choice."
 
Although town meeting voted to accept the road in the 1970s, this information never made it to the state. 
 
Ciskowski said Maple Drive will be a priority next year.
 
The project includes paving and full-depth reclamation but only two contractors bid on both the paving and reclamation. 
 
Warner Brothers came in with a low lump sum bid of $145,247.50 while Delsignore came in a bit higher at $175,153.
 
Lane Construction bid $131,150, HMN Construction bid $131,760, and J H Maxymillian bid $126,819. Theses bids did not include reclamation.
 
Conversely, Garrity Asphalt Reclaiming only bid on the reclamation at $5.25 per square yard. The highway superintendent will review the bids and make a recommendation next week.

Tags: fire station,   paving,   special town meeting,   

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Cheshire Stalls On AT Campsite At School

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town paused efforts to establish a temporary Appalachian Trail hiker’s campsite on town property with concerns over zoning.
 
The Board of Selectmen tapped the expertise of the building commissioner, Planning Board, and Board ofHhealth Tuesday to sort out a potential hiker campsite on the Cheshire Elementary School grounds, which at this point in time does not seem feasible.
 
"This is going to be a tough project and we had a lot of good information shared here tonight and we will have to do a little more thinking on this," Chairman Robert Ciskowski said. "I don't think we can come up with anything tonight."
 
In the past campers have utilized St. Mary’s Church and its grounds however the diocese plans to stop this practice. Residents have been leading an effort to chisel out a portion of the Cheshire Elementary campus for hikers to camp on - specifically an area near the church where the old skating rink used to sit.
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