JAMAICA -- The water system at Town Hall is closer to being replaced.
The outdated water system is something the Jamaica Selectboard has been discussing since the summer.
"Because the town of Jamaica owns the building, it really is the town’s responsibility to do something about the well," said Selectboard member Judy Flower. "It’s become a real necessity and the issue has been hanging around for quite a long time."
Earlier in October, the Selectboard accepted the lowest bid for the project, which was awarded to Frost Weld Drilling. The town will pay up to $4,000 for the work and donations will be used to cover the remainder of the estimated $7,000 cost.
The Selectboard has been looking into replacing the current water system at Town Hall. In June, the Town Hall Committee asked the board to look at costs for drilling a well for the building.
"It’s not drinkable," said Selectboard Chairwoman Lexa Clark in July. "In the summer, when there’s not a lot of rain, the spring kind of dries up."
The committee was formed years ago for renovating the building and finding fundraising dollars to assist with costs.
Flower has been helping the town to secure a grant for the Town Hall project, which will assist with the costs of replacing the water system.
"We have to get an easement or two because the trucks run over someone’s lawn next to the Town Hall," she said.
The grant is part of the Vermont Community Foundation’s Emergency Grant program, which is used for communities and municipalities. Flower told the Reformer that it has become a matter of health and safety.
"The Town Hall is one of the centers of our community," said Flower. "It’s used not only for community events but cultural events. It’s become more desperate to really have a working water system."
When events are held at the Jamaica Town Hall, patrons have been using the bathroom at the Community Church next door.
Local resident Steve Clark has been helping the town with the "technical side of this grant," Flower said.
"He’s been in the process of working on getting bids and getting the easements we need, exploring the area where the well could be dug, in terms of septic systems in the area and what kind of plumbing we have," Flower added. "He’s been really great at doing the technical stuff."
For now, the town is waiting to receive the easements before submitting the grant application. Once the grant is accepted, the company that was awarded the bid can begin work at the site. Funding projects like this have become a challenge for Jamaica.
"The major problem that the town is having and why we really need the grant is because (Tropical Storm) Irene has really hit us hard," said Flower. "Not everything has been paid by FEMA. It really has taxed what we have to pay and the town really needs help."
Organizations and individuals around town, including the Masons and the Benefit Society, have provided donations for the project.
"A lot of people have signed their support for the project within the community," said Flower.
The building is used for concerts, Town Meeting, graduations, dinner parties, anniversaries, workshops and other events.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.