Rockingham updates on Bartsonville bridge


ROCKINGHAM — The Select Board met briefly to discuss the town plan, but other matters regarding the Vilas Bridge and Bartonsville Covered Bridge squeezed in there as well.

Last week, Municipal Manager Chip Stearns was in a bit of a hot seat for burying and "donating" parts of the Bartonsvile Bridge.

At the Tuesday Select Board meeting, Stearns made a point to update the board and public that debris is scheduled to be hauled on Friday from New Hampshire to the new designated owner, former Select Board member Susan Hammond.

However, the trucker has indicated that it is not possible to deliver the debris to the designated area. Stearns asked the board that if Hammond is unable to find a location, would the board give him permission for it to be stored at the town pit?

"You're asking us for permission?" asked Select Board member Ann DiBernardo.

Stearns responded, "I could permit it myself, but that's probably not a good idea."

The Bartonsville Covered Bridge was washed away by the Williams River during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

The remnants of the bridge were recovered but ended up in the possession of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns' Property and Casualty Intermunicipal Fund, according to Stearns.

An unknown amount of debris from the 145-year-old bridge was buried at the Rockingham gravel pit about two months ago. Stearns also "donated" about 80 feet of trusses to Tim Andrews, owner of Barns & Bridges of New England, located in Gilford, N.H. No members of the Select Board knew about any of this, according to DiBernardo.

At Tuesday's meeting, Chairman Lamont Barnett asked if there was a reason this item could not wait until the next meeting on Sept. 6. Stearns noted the urgency because the debris is scheduled to be picked up this Friday. Barnett stated that Stearns made the board aware that should another site not be available it may need to be stored at the town pit.

However, DiBernardo said Hammond does not want the bridge pieces placed in an alternate location and wants it kept "out of the public view" because of "souvenir hunters."

Barnett noted that if it was necessary to put this debris at the town pit, then the town would be storing personal property at a town-owned location. Barnett noted that it was the consensus of the board that it would be "OK" to store this at the town pit.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 275.


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