Alna to spend close to half million on Cross Road, if voters approve

Center School needs more work than expected
Thu, 10/14/2021 - 8:45am

    Alna selectmen Oct. 13 named a Richmond firm to work on Cross Road, pending voters’ OK in March. All State bid on two options for the project, one at $453,000; the other, $548,000, selectmen said at the town office and on Zoom.

    Fielding residents’ questions, the board said it will work with the firm to fine-tune the project, and might give voters both options to consider. A loan, terms to be determined, would fund it, Second Selectman Charles Culbertson said. All State and Hagar Enterprises both bid, then only All State responded to the board’s questions, selectmen said. They added, the firm came well-recommended. Selectmen said Hagar bid $423,960 and $621,795 on the options. Road Commissioner Jeff Verney told the board, Hagar contacted him to explain it planned to use “a lot more material to fix it up” and possibly some culverts. 

    “That wasn’t relayed to me,” Second Selectman Linda Kristan said.

    Also Oct. 13, the board announced a wish of Roland Barth, who died last month, is coming true: A vintage tractor in Gordon Davis’s family about two decades, and owned by Barth since 1971, will, by bequest, go to the town, they said. The town cannot house and maintain it, so Waterville, Wiscasset & Farmington Railway Museum will, selectmen said. They said the town will own it and the museum will have it on indefinite loan.

    Barth’s sister-in-law Doreen Conboy said the model NAA 1954 Ford tractor is a great piece, and it was great to hear the plan. She later told Wiscasset Newspaper, Davis’s son Owen drove the Ford to Sheepscot on Sunday for the handoff. His father, a museum volunteer, “followed the tractor through Alna in his car with flashers on to alert vehicles from behind. (Museum President) Dave Buczkowski ... was there to welcome them ... The keys were handed over by Roland’s wife, Barbara Bauman,” Conboy wrote in an email.

    Culbertson said in the board meeting, “(The tractor is) a great gift to the town that Roland so loved,” and having it at the museum will honor Barth’s love of education.

    On another front, Conboy, town archivist, told the board the contractor for roof and cupola work on Center School has found rot that would make that work a waste of time and money. Instead, the bell and cupola will come off, the exposed part of the roof will be made weathertight and she will propose work next year and explore grants for it, she said.

    Mark DesMueles called for fellow townspeople to help and encourage the board. Everything he hears in meetings is negative, he said. “Frankly as a citizen of Alna I’m pretty tired of hearing this undercurrent. I think we need to step back and ... say, ‘What can we do to support Charlie and Linda as they try to make the  best decisions for all of us ...’”

    Selectmen kept their masking policy and adopted the remote meetings policy, revised with residents’ feedback. A selectman must take part in person except when “not practicable”; and when remote, a member’s connection must be good enough for them to be  “heard and understood,” the policy states.