Board approves new slide for town swimming pool

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BRATTLEBORO — At least one of several purchases approved Tuesday by the Select Board will bring untold smiles to the faces of its users.

That would be a new slide at the Living Memorial Park swimming pool.

"I think it will be a nice attraction for kids at the pool in the summer," said Carol Lolatte, Recreation and Parks director.

The plan is to use $20,041 from the Vermont Community Foundation Withington Fund's donation of $35,000 to purchase the slide from the Kentucky-based Recreonics, which had submitted the lowest of two bids. Lolatte hopes to use the rest of the donation to buy a smaller slide for the wading pool.

The double flume slide at the Living Memorial Park is more than 20 years old and will be replaced by a circular 19-foot-long single flume slide, with a ladder and 7-foot platform.

The Department of Public Works will be getting a new hydraulic hammer after the Select Board approved of the $23,950 purchase.

"Our impact hammer is an attachment for our backhoe," said Highways/Utilities Superintendent Hannah Tyler. "It's very essential, especially in our winter season when we have water main breaks to break through some of our concrete road beds or frozen ground to actually get down to the water main and repair it."

The lowest bid did not meet the department's criteria so the company with the second lowest bid was selected: Milton Cat of Milford, Mass. The Utilities 2017 Capital Budget featured a $40,000 line item to replace the equipment.

Leaks in the roof of 62 Black Mountain Road, where construction of the police station has begun, caused officials involved in the project to suggest replacement rather than repair.

The Select Board approved of spending $69,000 to replace a lower portion of the roof and purchase $87,952 worth of communications equipment for Central Fire Station, using money from an "uncommitted balance" associated with bonds issued for the $12.8 million police-fire project that will see new facilities for both departments.

According to Town Manager Peter Elwell, the "uncommitted balance" will still hold about $823,700 for other issues and project elements that did not need to be part of the original construction contract.

If some of the equipment or work had been included in that contract, Elwell said, "they would have had to carry an unusually large cushion on those items due to the uncertainty around them." He estimated the communications equipment would have been about 12 percent higher in cost.

"Working directly with suppliers and vendors can be overseen," he said. "So we're able to save money in the overall project by purchasing the materials directly, which makes them tax exempt and we don't have the overhead cost of the acquisition of it."

The town had known about issues with the roof. Some sections were patched earlier, Elwell said. But replacement of the lower section was ultimately recommended.

"It's really important that we do that so we don't complete this construction project in the interior and then start having some leaks down into newly constructed improved space," Elwell said, adding that project leaders expect the higher portion of the roof could last another five years but would cost $90,000 to replace. "As we get nearer to the end of the project, if we continue to be in the solid shape we are in financially, we will recommend to you at that time that you authorize that we replace the rest of the roof so that we start off at that facility with a new roof."

Project Manager Steve Horton said the new roof would offer more insulation to the building. The station is expected to be ready in August for police to move from the Municipal Center.

"One of the reasons this building was selected for this project is that once the area where the Reformer has relocated into has been finished, the rest of the building could be completely gutted," Elwell said. "Being a modern construction, it's making the construction process move along quickly; being able to just clear out the inside, do the prep work that needs to be done for the actual construction of the new layout for the police station and then quickly proceed with that."

The new West Brattleboro Fire Station has been completed and an open house is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. An addition on the Central Fire Station downtown is in progress and reportedly on schedule. Some trees on Church Street had to be removed for safety reasons, Elwell said.

Agenda items on diversity practices when hiring town employees, and Select Board goals and rules of procedure, were moved to the May 2 meeting due to the absence of board members David Schoales and John Allen.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.

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