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by Rich Hewitt
It was a busy summer season on Walker Pond, despite the ongoing construction at the new public beach and boat launch site that is jointly owned by the towns of Sedgwick and Brooksville.
Boaters and beachgoers made use of the site last summer, according to Nathaniel Allen, who ran the boat inspection program monitoring for invasive species. Allen told selectmen from the two towns that he inspected a total of 167 boats during the season. There were plenty of swimmers as well, he said.
“Sometimes there were more swimmers than boats,” he said.
Allen put in a total of 367 hours working part-time during the summer. He was paid a total of $3,303, a portion of that coming from a $1,500 grant and the two towns picking up the rest of that cost.
Volunteers also put in a total of 217 hours at the site.
The season went fairly smoothly, according to Sedgwick Selectman Neil Davis. There were a few problems during the summer, most notably from jet skis, but Davis said they were taken care of quickly.
“The wardens and the town worked well together, and that helped to mitigate the problems we did have,” he said.
Most of the construction work at the site has been completed. Crews recently completed construction of the concrete abutment that will anchor the float system at the boat landing. The floats have been and will be in the water next summer, according to Brooksville Selectman Darrell Fowler.
When they met October 10, the selectmen began preparing for the next season. They agreed to hire Allen for four hours per week during the winter to serve in a caretaker capacity and to begin working on some cleanup work when possible. Part of that job will be to develop a list of some of the work that needs to be done at the site. That list could serve as a job description for Allen, according to Davis.
Davis said he had been thinking of more time, perhaps as much as eight hours a week, but Sedgwick Selectman Colby Pert expressed concern about whether the town had enough funds left for the additional hours.
At the suggestion of Brooksville Selectman John Gray, the two boards agreed to get regular budget updates throughout the year. They also agreed to begin work on developing a formal budget for the Walker Pond operations. That budget will include funds for plowing during the winter. The selectmen will put snow plowing out to bid this month, seeking bids on a per-event and seasonal basis. Davis said he hopes to award the contract for snow plowing at the next meeting.
Once it’s adopted, the Walker Pond budget will go to voters at the annual town meetings in both towns.