Selectmen Give Go Ahead on Needed Stevens Hall Repairs

By Alex Malm

CHESTER – During the Aug. 26 Chester Board of Selectmen meeting one of the agenda items that was discussed was in regards to repairs at Stevens Hall.
It was explained by Chester Board of Selectmen Chairman Chuck Myette that they had a proposal to make needed repairs to the roof, along with doing some painting of the outside of the building, along with a restoration to the gutter.
Chester Town Administrator Debra Doda said that the roof repairs would cost about $8,000, the gutter restoration would cost about $2,000 and the painting would cost about $22,000.
Selectmen Stephen Landau said that he thought they were in the process of putting together a committee to look at what needs to be done to the building for repairs and renovations long term.
Myette said that putting together a committee is something they talked about, and is something they could still do, but there are also some things they could do in the meantime.
“It does seem like those are short term things we should do anyhow so it doesn’t get any worse,” he said.
Selectmen Stephen D’Angelo commented that he was concerned that if they spend the money for the temporary repair they are never going to get to the point of doing the major renovations needed on the building.
Myette responded that they could do both things in parallel.
D’angelo also asked if it was cost effective to do the painting because it always peels quickly. He also said that they should try to force the issue of coming up with a plan to get the major repairs and renovations done.
Myette mentioned that it would be better to do something short-term now to make sure it doesn’t get any worse.
It was ultimately decided on a 3-0 vote to approve the proposal for $32,000 for the repairs to the roof, along with the gutter restoration, and painting of the building.
Both Landau and D’Angelo abstained from the vote.
Selectmen Steven Couture said that they should work on a draft charter for the committee for the next meeting, to come up with things like goals for the committee along with what the representation should be for the committee.
Landau and D’Angelo both agreed to help draft the charter.
In other business, Myette explained to the Board of Selectmen that the Conservation Commission and the Wason Pond Commission both agreed that it would be best to construct a temporary wood bridge on the structure of the pedestrian walking bridge.
Since July 12 the Chester Wason Pond Pedestrian Bridge has been closed due to it being deemed unsafe.
Following torrential rainstorms over the summer there was damage done across the state from flooding to down power lines and trees due to the wind and rain.
Summer storms led to the town of Chester to make the decision to close the walking bridge leading to the Wason Pond public beach.
Myette said that the Conservation Commission agreed to use its funding to pay for the wooden structure, so people can walk on it as they continue to decide what the best thing to do is moving forward regarding the bridge.
The Board of Selectmen agreed that they could get to work right away to build the wooden structure.
The next Chester Board of Selectmen meeting is slated for Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.