Approves town beach playground design, defers proposed beach access ramp
Monday’s special Selectboard meeting agenda included reviewing a draft memorandum of agreement (MOA) and contractor bids for the Charlotte Library addition, approving the playground design at the town beach, and addressing other agenda items carried over from previous meetings.
The meeting opened with Town Administrator Dean Bloch reading the three bids received for the library addition: Bread Loaf Corporation: $1,066,200; ReArch Company: $889, 991; and Naylor and Breen Builders: $1,256,222. Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz said the library committee would evaluate the bids and “get it nailed down this week.” A recommendation will be presented at the June 3 meeting. Chair Matt Krasnow also presented a draft MOA to the Selectboard which is an agreement among the Selectboard, the library board of trustees and the Friends of the Charlotte Library.
Vice Chair Frank Tenney was the first to question item 1A: Raise up to approximately half of the cost of the project in funding over the next two years (by 12/31/2020) through private donations and grants. He remarked, “My concern is of 1A. So that’s December 31, 2020, but they want it built by the end of 2020.” To which Krasnow responded that the cash donations will be “transferred to an account the [town treasurer] Mary Mead manages, and funds will be blended in as costs incur.” He also said the issue was addressed in item 1C of the MOA. (Read the MOA here.)
Selectboard member Louise McCarren asked the library how much they had raised to date. Library treasurer Nan Mason said, “We have $440,000 total cash and pledges received as of today, and of that, $250,000 in cash.” She explained that pledges are donations given over a three year period. Library Director Margaret Woodruff responded that they were waiting to hear what the bids were so they know how much left they need to raise. Both Tenney and Assistant Town Clerk Christina Booher asked about funding additional costs related to construction. The Selectboard did not motion on the draft MOA with Tenney saying, “I’d like to see something with hard numbers.” Woodruff nodded in agreement and said, “Some disagreements were resolved, let’s see what the true costs are.”
The Selectboard also approved the contract for reconstruction of the playground at the town beach after a protracted discussion on the increased cost of the recommended design above the initial estimate of $75,000. Two designs were presented by Recreation Director Nicole Conley and Recreation Commission Chair Bill Fraser-Harris. The second recommendation was more expensive but “the playground will satisfy the full age range,” said Fraser-Harris. Donors had previously asked that the design be more inclusive of more age groups.
The Selectboard and Rec Commission discussed the pricing options of varying playground features as well as both designs. Krasnow said, “I am leaning towards the second design. It does reach all of the goals we arrived at.” He continued, “as far as playgrounds go, Burlington is breaking ground on an $800,000 playground that is universally accessible. It’s a big achievement to do this at this scope and for $90,000.” Fraser-Harris agreed, saying, “It’s now going to be a corner piece of the park for us to build on…we believe it’s still very good value for the town to have a [nearly] 50% donation for a capital investment even at $90,000.”
Tenney raised a question about the tennis courts. Fraser-Harris responded that they had been resurfaced this year and that discussions continue on the long term plan for the courts. He said the funds to construct the playground would come from the current amount in the Rec Commission capital fund, anticipated FY20 budget allocation, and the donors. The difference might be able to be made up by volunteer efforts, added Fraser-Harris.
McCarren made the motion saying, “I am making this motion based on Nicole, that yes, this is a good value for incremental money.” To which Conley replied, “This playground is a design that invites everybody and that is the best value. It’s unique, and there is a lot to it. However, I don’t know if we should be taking away from rebuilding tennis courts and other projects.” The Selectboard motioned and approved the Recreation Commission to spend up to $90,000 on the reconstruction of the playground at the town beach.
After conducting a site visit to the town beach to see the location of the proposed beach access ramp, the Selectboard deferred the agenda item until June 10, citing the need for more information on potential construction options. A temporary, dock-style ramp was proposed, along with a stone or wooden option.
Tegatz proposed several improvements to the request for proposals (RFP) process including providing the Selectboard with a “written commentary from the commission” and evaluating only what listed is in the RFP and to “not bring in other things.” The Selectboard also recommended if the bid opening does not take place during a meeting to warn it according to town policy. The library addition came up again during discussion around the request for proposal process and purchasing policy. Resident Peter Trono expressed concerns about the process in which the RFP was drafted and the lack of interested bidders. He asked, “Do you think there is a need to compile better bid documents, and do research ahead of time?” Trono also proposed a committee to draft town RFPs
The Selectboard heard from residents about speeding concerns during the public comment portion of the meeting and proposed actionable items from previous road safety discussions. Resident Megan Price spoke about recent turtle crossings, thanked the Selectboard for moving the speed cart, and again asked for consideration of lowering the speed limit on Ferry Road. Booher shared her experience running on Ferry Road and concerns about cyclists and area bicycle tour companies. Mark Moser of Greenbush Road asked the Selectboard to reconsider his proposal of installing speed tables in the West Village. He said, “Let’s to do something positive and take the responsibility of controlling speed out of the hands of the drivers with these devices. They work really well; I recommend them in the village.”
Proposed actionable items from the Selectboard included a few previous recommendations from residents. Krasnow asked Road Commissioner Jr Lewis for estimated costs of repainting existing fog lines and extending them in the east and west villages, as well as painting or repainting the speed limit on specific roads. Krasnow also proposed a “big welcoming sign” at both village designations, similar to what he observed in Jericho. Selectboard member Carrie Spear said she’d like to see more American flags strategically placed and recommended wearing safety vests while walking. She said, “We have a lot of children walk over to the store and maybe we could encourage them to wear something.” Tegatz said, “I wasn’t allowed to walk on certain streets because they are too fast.” He continued, “At the risk of controversy, do all town roads have to be suitable for children and pedestrians?” Other suggestions included conducting traffic studies and increasing road signage. Lewis expressed concern about “sign clutter” and said, “The state police wants us to put up a 50 mph sign on Ferry Road. I am not for putting up more signs.”
The Selectboard motioned to go into executive session for a personnel issue. The next regularly scheduled meeting is June 3 at 6:00 p.m.