The heart of Londonderry lies at the corner of Pillsbury and Mammoth roads – the Town Common.
The Town Common has been in place since 1845, and is the site of community activities including music nights, art shows, Old Home Day and patriotic events. The Soldier’s Memorial was constructed in 1884, followed by other memorials for the Revolutionary War, World War I, and World War II. The bandstand was completed in 1976.
The people of Londonderry and surrounding towns enjoy the concerts, art exhibits and other events that take place on the Town Common but the bricks in the memorial section had become a safety hazard, as they had not been tended to over their 18- to 20-year existence.
Steve Cotton, Administrative Support Coordinator for the town, said a project to address the growing safety issue of out-of-line bricks was approved in May and will cost $17,000. He said work began Monday, Oct. 3 and is expected to take two weeks to complete.
Cotton said the low bidder for the project was Lawn Butler. That company was selected not only because it had the low bid but also because of the quality of its work. He said that among the other bidders were one or two whose work had previously been unsatisfactory.
“The bricks in that part of the Town Common were in desperate need of work,” Cotton said of the project. “The bricks were taken up and the ground underneath them worked on and leveled, and the bricks with names on them will be replaced and new bricks added for the circle and the pathway. We also took out the Burning Bushes and they are not going back, as they are an invasive species. In fact there will be no bushes in the patio area.”
The project was deemed essential because of the safety factor. The bricks were out of line and people were in danger of tripping and falling as a result, Cotton said. When the project is completed the brick area will be smooth and the safety issues will have been eliminated, he said.
Cotton noted that work will begin on the bandstand in the next couple of weeks. This project was approved by the Town Council last week, when Cotton presented an order relative to the expenditure of the Maintenance Trust Fund for various projects. One of those projects was for the Town Common Bandstand, at a cost of $18,700 for preventive maintenance and repairs.
Before approving the request, the Town Council asked whether WiFi connections could be achieved at the Town Common while the repairs were being carried out, as previously reported by the Londonderry Times. After a brief discussion Cotton agreed to look into getting WiFi connections installed in the upper reaches of the Lions Hall across the street, which would be a less expensive approach but would work just as well. The Council voted 4-0 to approve the expenditure request.
Cotton said there will be power washing of the bandstand structure and the ramp, and both will be repainted. He noted that a lot of masonry work needs to be done, as cracks have opened up due to water leaks, and those need to be fixed. There are also cracks in the ceiling, allowing critters to get in and do damage, and these need to be caulked and closed, he said. In addition, the door into the electric room has been vandalized and needs to be replaced.