Demos set for Newfane Irene buyouts


NEWFANE -- A contractor is expected to soon remove flood-damaged structures on three properties rendered useless by Tropical Storm Irene.

Having last year completed buyouts of properties on Dover Road, Stratton Hill Road and Hickey Road, Newfane Selectboard has awarded a $15,150 bid to demolish homes on each site.

The approval of Wholeshot Construction's bid is contingent on the contractor's proposal meeting all technical requirements. A schedule has not yet been set for demolition.

"On the assumption there's no problem, we'll be able to move ahead," Selectboard Chairman Gary Katz said.

Newfane was hard-hit by Irene's flooding in August 2011. While the town still is repairing municipal infrastructure damaged in the storm, several private properties cannot be salvaged.

So town officials turned to a federally-funded buyout program and, after negotiations that also involved property owners and state officials, reached purchase agreements on 236 Dover Road, 28 Stratton Hill Road and 5 Hickey Road.

The price was $90,000 for the Dover Road property, while the buyouts on Stratton Hill and Hickey Road were completed for identical sums of $106,318.

Any structures on the properties must be demolished, and the sites must remain undeveloped.

Newfane Selectboard received four bids for demolition on the three parcels. Townshend-based Wholeshot was the lowest, with the other three bids ranging from $18,000 to $29,461.

Federal grant money, which is administered through Vermont Emergency Management, will cover demolition costs eventually. But Newfane will have to pay for the job and then submit a request for reimbursement.

Officials still are working on two more Irene-related buyouts, both on Dover Road.

In other recent town business:

-- The Selectboard agreed to send a letter to various state officials urging faster action on Arch Bridge, a deteriorating span over the Rock River in Williamsville.

Vermont Agency of Transportation has begun soliciting local input for a rehabilitation or replacement of the one-lane, concrete bridge, which originally was built in 1900 and reconstructed in 1934.

The span is considered structurally deficient, but a VTrans official has said construction is years away. Selectboard members, noting the bridge's importance as a local and regional detour, don't believe that schedule is acceptable.

"It does look like it's falling apart," Selectboard member Mike Fitzpatrick said.

-- Officials will take another crack at electrical upgrades at Williamsville Hall.

Last year, with $5,000 available for that work, Newfane received just one bid for $11,475. The Selectboard last week voted to formally reject that bid and to seek new bids.

Voters at Town Meeting this month approved a capital plan that includes an additional $10,000 allocation for Williamsville Hall.

-- Officials acknowledged sending the wrong version of Newfane's proposed, updated town plan to Windham Regional Commission. The document that had been submitted contained omissions and was not the version approved by the Selectboard, Katz said.

"They've got the correct plan (now), and they'll review that," Katz said.

Mike Faher can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.


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