Charlotte Selectboard receives three bids for library addition

SCOOTER MACMILLAN
Staff Writer

Bids were opened for the Charlotte Library addition before a special selectboard meeting on May 20.

Charlotte Selectboard members Fritz Tegatz and Louise McCarren opened the three bids, which were then shared with the public: Breadloaf Corporation:  $1.6 million; ReArch Company:  $889,000; and Naylor & Breen Builders with Vermont Integrated Architecture – $1.2 million.

A selectboard discussion about the bids for the library addition is tentatively scheduled for the Monday, June 3 meeting.

The board also approved a memorandum of agreement with the library’s board of trustees and with the Friends of the Charlotte Library about the “design, approval, funding and construction of a renovation of and addition” to the library.

Prior to the meeting, there were two site visits, to Guinea Road (for a proposed agricultural access) and to the Charlotte Town Beach (to look at the possibilities for a beach access ramp).

New playground approved

Discussions about the contract for the construction of the new playground at the Charlotte Town Beach took up some time at the selectboard meeting, almost as much time as discussion of speeding and road safety issues.

The playground that Recreation Commission chair Bill Fraser-Harris said the commission wants is almost $92,000. The amount in the budget for the new playground is $75,000. The more expensive design includes elements of the initial design that was proposed by the Recreation Commission plus elements that donors Tom and Michelle Tiller would like.

The Tillers, Fraser-Harris and much of the selectboard have said that the initial design seemed better for older children and didn’t have enough elements for younger children, so it was revised to be more age inclusive. The Recreation Commission has $41,000 in donations – $40,000 from the Tillers and $1,000 from the community.

Fraser-Harris said that they had budgeted the playground at $75,000 because 15 years ago that was the quote for a new playground when it was initially proposed but never acted upon.

He said that he didn’t think the additional expense would impact any other recreation department projects.

McCarren made a motion for the recreation commission and recreation director Nicole Conley to spend $90,000 for the new playground. McCarren admitted that this was at least $1,000 less than the quoted price. The selectboard approved her motion unanimously.

Board Chair Matt Krasnow said that they were going to look into options for a temporary dock-type of ramp for access at the town beach, while they consider a more permanent ramp.

Bill Fraser-Harris chair of the Recreation Commission asked if they couldn’t have a stone ramp.

Krasnow advocated studying the options and “comparing apples and oranges” of ramp options at a future selectboard meeting. This discussion is tentatively scheduled for the June 10 meeting.

Safer road strategies

During the public comment section of the meeting, Megan Price spoke again about trying to get drivers to slow down.

“I just feel somebody’s going to get killed, and if I don’t say something, it’s my fault,” she said.

McCarren said the results of the data the town received from the state police surprised her because it didn’t show many vehicles speeding. In response to a question from Price, she admitted that she didn’t know where the speed monitoring equipment was set up.

Price said she thought where the speed is being checked is crucial.

McCarren said she was also impressed by the ideas that people had to improve road safety in Charlotte, besides reducing the speed limit. Those ideas included putting up no passing signs, painting fog lines and a stop sign at the corner of Lake and Ferry roads.

Christine Booher also spoke to the issue of safety and said that sometimes people ride bicycles six abreast “because they’re on a bicycle tour and there’s a whole group of them.”

She said while she was running on Ferry Road that very evening, she saw two incidents that illustrated why it’s so dangerous. One was a car trying to pass a line of cars on the left that were stopped, waiting for a car that was taking a left. The other was a vehicle that crossed over the center line heading at her as she ran before the car moved back over.

“And I thought OK, that’s why I either run at the gym or Irun first thing in the morning,” Booher said.

Bill Stuono said that he found the study interesting because if most people are going under 50 miles per hour “that really shows you that 50 is too fast for that road.”

Elongated speed bumps

Mark Moser said he has been petitioning the selectboard about speeding concerns since 2008. “There was a safety committee that was held by the selectboard years ago that made a whole slew of recommendations about how to make our roads safe,” he said.

Moser argued for speed tables, which he said are “elongated speed bumps” that will force drivers to slow down. He said that speed tables can be put down and taken up for things like snow plowing.

“It’s the only thing that’s going to work,” Moser said. “I recommend them anywhere in the village where we have to control speed.”

Later in the meeting, the selectboard returned to the road safety issue as an agenda item for an examination of actionable items pertaining to road safety.

Krasnow said that, when the safety committee had previously looked into putting speed tables on Charlotte roads, fire and rescue had not wanted them due to ambulance transports.

Tegatz said that some farmers had objected to speed tables, too.

Krasnow said that he thought that painting fog lines on the edge of roads was a “good bang for the buck.”

Road commissioner Hugh “Junior” Lewis said that he thought painting the fog lines had cost 8 cents per foot.

“When you drive into Jericho, they have a really big sign that says, ‘Welcome to the village,” said Krasnow. “It’s a welcoming way of saying that a slower speed is expected.”

Selectboard member Carrie Spear said that she had been driving in a town in south Vermont that had put out American flags. She noticed that she had slowed down without even realizing it. She said she thought putting U.S. flags on utility poles would be a good idea for Charlotte.

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