Conservation Plan Would Make Areas More Recreation Friendly

The Londonderry Conservation Commission has signed off on a tentative plan for engineering services with the intent of making up to four of the town’s conservation areas more recreation friendly.

At the June 14 Conservation meeting, the Commission approved allowing Chairman Marge Badois to sign a “scope and fee services” letter from Stantec Consulting Services. The proposal will be forwarded to the Planning Board for approval, to the Town Council upon Planning approval, and to be included in the next Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) if the Council gives its nod to the proposal.

The Stantec proposal includes preparing a conceptual plan and cost estimate for engineering design, permitting fees, construction cost and engineering services for one or more of the sites owned by the town or Commission.

The cost for each site is $7,000 including the services of a landscape architect and $5,500 without the landscape architect. The Commission agreed by consensus that it didn’t need landscape architect services at this point.

The plan for the work is broken down into compiling a base plan, taking at least two site walks, identification of environmental permits, developing a conceptual site plan, and a conceptual construction cost estimate for budgeting purposes, according to a letter from Stantec Project Manager Michael Leach.

Member Mike Speltz suggested the Commission choose two or three properties that would benefit from a recreation update and submit those. He proposed the Musquash area as one and observed that it could use an expanded parking lot.

While other members said they didn’t have a problem with parking at the Musquash, member Roger Fillio observed, “I think the town will get behind parking lots.” Speltz expressed concern that the proposed costs weren’t broken down enough and suggested the Commission include a request to have a more specific outline of costs.

The Musquash and its parking situation was the Commission’s first selection. Members discussed putting in a beach at Little Cohas Brook for a possible town swimming area.

Members also reacted favorably to a picnic area and other improvements at Kendall Pond, but noted that a previous plan may exist for Kendall Pond. They said Vice-Chair Gene Harrington may have a copy of the plan, but he was not in attendance.

“I would like a Plan B,” Speltz said. “I would like to allow the chair to drop Kendall Pond from the plan if there’s an existing plan, and to add another conservation area.”

Member Mike Byerly suggested cleaning out Beaver Brook and making it more canoe- and kayak-friendly. But member Deborah Lievens observed that the water gets quite low in summer, “somewhere between a brook and a stream. I’m not sure the amount of water there will ever turn into what it needs to be.”

Byerly said he likes Little Cohas Brook as an alternate to Kendall Pond.

Lievens said that putting a picnic area at Kendall Pond is not as much work as some of the options. “It would go together faster,” she said.

But at Stantec’s price, the Commission agreed they could possibly rehab four properties for better recreational use. They authorized Badois to sign the letter naming the Musquash, Scobie Pond, Kendall Pond and Little Cohas as the group’s properties of choice, with Kendall Pond being taken off if a previous plan is located. A cover letter will include the Commission’s directive that the scope of work be more completely broken down.

Speltz said if the Council chooses not to act on the request, it could be brought before the voters as a petitioned warrant article.

“Whatever we decide, that’s all we can send to the CIP,” Speltz said.

In other business, Byerly reported on the Conservation Commission’s e-newsletter, which now has 142 readers. The current issue has an article on mulching and lawn care and a preview of the Conservation Walk to be held June 26 on the Ingersoll property.

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