Rockingham board gets update on historic building


ROCKINGHAM -- Part of the Rockingham Selectboard's annual meeting at the Rockingham Meeting House on Tuesday included an update about the building from the town's development director.

Francis "Dutch" Walsh said he firmed up a maintenance plan with a schedule of annual inspections of the historic structure built in the late 1700s. He said the roof is in good shape, but the windows often need maintenance. There is currently no money in the budget for the care of meeting house, which he told the Reformer is scary because adequate fundraising is hard to accomplish nowadays.

Walsh told the Selectboard the town needs a realistic budget for maintenance of the meeting house.

In other news, Zoning Administrator Ellen Howard told Selectboard members she is submitting an application for a municipal planning grant of up to $8,000 to fund the creation of a "design guide" for The Island area's sub-district. She said the money would be used to hire a consultant to develop visual images in a guide people can look through to get an idea of what is appropriate when proposing to the planning commission any alterations to the exterior of a building.

She said the town already has an $8,000 municipal planning grant for a similar design guide for the town's central business area, which is part of the "design review district."

Howard also said she plans to speak next week with the owners of three properties along Route 121 that were severely damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. She said she will talk to the owners, whose properties are not livable, about a FEMA buyout.

Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II gave a few updates at Tuesday's meeting. He said the town budget is right on track before going into his update of the Rockingham Free Public Library renovation project.

He said he hopes to have the building re-opened by Monday, Sept. 30.

"I can tell you now we exactly obtained a full CO [certificate of occupancy] on Aug. 23," he said.

The library, built in 1909 with funds from American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, has been closed since the spring, when its board of trustees controversially voted to shut down the building for the completion of the renovation. The library now has a temporary location at 41 The Square.

In other business:

-- The Selectboard awarded a bid for delivery of 6,000 cubic yards of screened winter sand for the 2013-14 winter season to Butch Wilson Excavating, which submitted a proposal of $11.50 per cubic yard of sand delivered (in an amount not to exceed $69,000).

According to Rockingham Highway Superintendent Mike Hindes, all deliveries must be made to the Rockingham Highway Garage on Route 103 under his own supervision. The order must be 50 percent complete by Friday, Nov. 1.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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