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More brickwork needed on Camden Opera House

Pandemic to change Pearl Street Halloween tradition
By Susan Mustapich | Oct 09, 2020
Photo by: Dan Dunkle As a gutter replacement project proceeds, it was discovered that many bricks near the roof of the Camden Opera House building need to be replaced.

CAMDEN — More funds were approved to repair brick work on the Camden Opera House, and there was talk about not closing Pearl Street for Halloween this year at the October 6 Select Board meeting.

Town Manager Audra Caler and board member Jenna Lookner were not present at the meeting.

Opera House exterior work

Public Works Director Dave St. Laurent informed the Select Board that the top five or six courses of bricks on the front of the building need to be replaced on the Opera House building. When the old gutters were removed, the contractor found that these bricks are deteriorated, due to water infiltration behind the brick facade. The original plan was to repoint as needed. It was also found that previous repointing was patched and filled in around old mortar, instead of removing the old mortar first. Now as old mortar is removed, the bricks are turning to dust, St. Laurent said.

Knowles Industrial Services Corp. of Gorham priced the work at $68,345. The Select Board unanimously approved the work. The money will be taken from an Opera House reserve fund, as this expense is not part of the original budget to replace all the gutters and repoint the brick on the Washington Street side of the building.

Excavator bid

The Select Board approved a bid of $101,900 to purchase a Caterpillar excavator from Milton CAT of Brewer. The company supplied the low bid, and was one four bidders. The equipment will be shared between the Public Works and Wastewater departments.

St. Laurent said renting an excavator every year for four months is costing as much as a payment for the new excavator, which should have a life of 20 to 25 years. The town will use the machine for culverts, putting up winter sand and any digging activity.

Sagamore Farm

A request for interest has been drafted for Sagamore Farm, a 77-acre town-owned property.

Development and Planning Director Jeremy Martin proposed the town release a request to invite parties to share their interest in acquiring and developing the property. The property contains 2.5 miles of public mountain bike trails and a half-acre solar farm. Martin said these current uses are valued community resources that the town wants to continue.

Sagamore Farm is located on Route 1, in the rural residential zone, which allows single family dwellings and open space residential developments. Creative proposals are encouraged, and the town would entertain zoning amendments, according to the draft.

Martin said a handful of entities have expressed interest in the property.

McKellar asked if a survey town officials requested is part of the packet. Martin said the survey is done for the most part, except for two areas that need to be completed.

Board members and Martin discussed Sagamore Farm Road, which provides access to the property from Route 1, but then includes an easement over Chip Laite's property.

Martin said he is confident the road will work to provide access, and that Laite is willing to work with the town. There are man-made wetlands on the property, which the Department of Fish and Wildlife has determined are not significant wildlife habitats, he said.

McKellar asked about vernal pools on the property. Falciani asked that the habitat assessment and survey be provided, as this is information that any person expressing interest needs to know.

Board members suggested that instead of issuing the one page request for interest, that Martin could meet with interested individuals to respond to questions. It was agreed that before taking a next step, Martin will wait for the survey to be completed, as well as some legal research that needs to be done.

Halloween

During a discussion about Halloween, Select Board members talked about the closing of Pearl Street as if that was not going to happen this year. Select Board members McKellar and Benzi agreed that it made sense to return to the days when children went to houses throughout Camden, instead of gathering on Pearl Street for Halloween.

Pearl Street residents and others in the town are looking for guidance about what is being encouraged or discouraged this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to McKellar. It is a good opportunity for people to stay in their own neighborhood, she said. Growing up in Camden, she remembers a lot of people enjoyed those Halloweens, and that the Pearl Street. phenomenon has changed that.

Benzi said he grew up on Pearl Street. He said what happens there on Halloween now is great, but that it also draws people from other areas. He supports the idea of going back to a simpler time when you stayed close to home and went to your neighbors this year.

Board member Marc Ratner said he has heard from people who are frustrated about this, and asking if there is something the town can do. He suggested a trunk and treat event at the Snow Bowl parking lot that would be modified so families in vehicles could drive through the event. He said it would be safe and unique and something the town  could do.

The question of closing other streets, if residents wanted to do that came up, as well as looking at what other towns are doing. Board members asked that state guidelines for Halloween be posted on the town website.

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Karen A Grove | Oct 09, 2020 18:35

Suggestion:  I saw a man on tv who had a brilliant idea on social distancing on Halloween.  He bought a tube of PVC pipe, extra long, wrapped it in orange and black tape and wrapped again in orange string lights.  He taped it to the hand rail on his front porch.  He made a sign for the sidewalk end that said "Put you basket here".  He bought only pre-wrapped candy.  He will watch for the trick or treaters from his porch and send the candy down the inside of the PVC pipe.  Too Cool!  Come on Camden we can do this.



Posted by: Karen A Grove | Oct 09, 2020 18:34

Suggestion:  I saw a man on tv who had a brilliant idea on social distancing on Halloween.  He bought a tube of PVC pipe, extra long, wrapped it in orange and black tape and wrapped again in orange string lights.  He taped it to the hand rail on his front porch.  He made a sign for the sidewalk end that said "Put you basket here".  He bought only pre-wrapped candy.  He will watch for the trick or treaters from his porch and send the candy down the inside of the PVC pipe.  Too Cool!  Come on Camden we can do this.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Oct 09, 2020 09:51

Nice gutter work Coastal Copper & Slate, Inc.



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