News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 1, 2011
Handful of votes enough to accept $250,000 grant to complete Walker Pond project

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Sedgwick First Selectman Neil Davis

Sedgwick First Selectman Neil Davis reviews the single-article warrant with David Anderson, the moderator at a special town meeting held to approve a $250,000 grant to complete a Walker Pond boating facility.

Photo by Bette Britt Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Bette Britt

Selectmen Neil Davis, Colby Pert and Victor Smith completed their routine weekly meeting by 6:40 p.m. on Thursday, August 25. Then they arranged folding chairs in two short rows for the special town meeting scheduled for 6:45 p.m. “There, that should be enough,” declared Smith.

And it was, for only a few voters straggled in to accept a $250,000 Bureau of Parks and Lands grant to complete the Walker Pond Boating Facility.

This was a formal, but necessary, step in the lengthy process of getting public access to Walker Pond. This process is well underway after legal work cleared access to the site from Blue Hill Heritage Trust, overseer of the former Cooper Farm, and landowners and/or abutters whose acreage has to be accessed to give local residents a right-of-way to Walker Pond.

As work on the access road progressed earlier this month, selectmen entered into agreement with the state for financial assistance with the development of a boating facility. In a letter dated August 3, George Powell, director of the boating facilities division of the Department of Conservation, acknowledged the partnership between Sedgwick and Brooksville “for ownership of the facility and sharing of costs with funds being expended by Sedgwick with a portion being reimbursed by Brooksville.”

The grant will be awarded to Sedgwick, and it’s up to the partners to allocate costs, according to Powell, who went on to explain that with a so-called reimbursement grant the towns pay the bills and then make a request for reimbursement. Going into specifics, Powell mentioned providing backup materials, like invoices, and checking whether expenditures are reimbursable—especially in instances where there might be changes in contracts after they have been awarded. Competitive bids are expected for “all contracted services and purchased materials, and we require our review and approval of all contracts, plans and specifications, “ his letter concluded.

With up to $250,000 available for completion of the Walker Pond Boating Facility, it took the handful of people in attendance less than 10 minutes to vote in David Anderson as moderator of the special town meeting, then call for a vote on the warrant article about accepting the grant. The motion to approve carried. Following a motion by former selectman Nelson Grindal, the special town meeting was adjourned at 6:53 p.m.

Having been asked to attend monthly meetings between Sedgwick and Brooksville selectmen on the access project, Grindal had given a progress report to Davis, Pert and Smith earlier in the evening. While contracted work is allowed up to 100 feet of the shore, he encouraged selectmen to give thought to what might be done in preparation for spring construction of the bridge and boat launch ramp. Pert told Grindal to get cost estimates and report back to the selectmen. The road looks good, as does the parking lot, according to Grindal, who noted the parking lot grade was improved from original drawings.

With town office ceiling insulation and repair more than half done, carpenter Aaron Grindal was at the selectmen’s meeting to talk about lighting fixtures and collect partial payment for the job. The balance of the weekly warrant totaling $126,188 was signed by selectmen and included $3,600 to Aaron Grindal; $90,908 county tax; $24,660 transfer station; $1,700 RJD Appraisals.