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Selectmen Recommend Approval for Alternate School Way Construction Project

In hopes that Finance Committee would reconsider their recommended disapproval, the Selectmen recommended approval for an alternate to the School Way construction project.

 

At their Nov. 5 meeting, the Board of Selectmen recommended approval for an alternate to the School Way construction project that appears under article 9 of the Nov. 13 Special Town Meeting warrant, lessening the scope of the project as well as lowering the cost. 

The article as it appears on the warrant sent out to Bedford residents last week asks Town Meeting members to appropriate $561,000 for construction and improvements to the pavement at Mudge Way, the Bedford Police Department parking lot, the shared Town Hall and Town Center parking lot and School Way.

The Selectmen discussed the School Way construction project and voted 5-0-0 to recommend approval to an alternate plan to the article that will limit the scope of the construction and lower the net cost of the project to $348,260. 

Construction in the municipal complex under the alternative plan will be limited to the portion of Mudge Way from the northeast corner of the Town Hall complex to School Way, Elm Street to School Way and Maple Street to South Road.

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Before recommending their approval for the alternate to article 9, the Selectmen asked Director of Department of Public Works Richard Warrington for his input concerning whether the current state of the municipal complex indicated it need improvements.

"The complex is 25 years old," Warrington said. "It's served it's purpose."

Selectwoman Margot Fleischman asked Warrington if the town would get a better deal if all the components of the project were completed at one time as opposed to piece mealing portions of the project together. 

"We won't get a better deal, but there is something to say for everything looking uniform," Warrington said.

Fleischman also expressed her concern that if different components of the project were completed at different times it would draw out the time that parts of the municipal complex will be closed to traffic due to construction.

"If we do it in more than one piece it will inconvenience people even more," Fleischman said. 

Selectman Mark Siegenthaler said he was concerned about presenting the article in its full scope at Special Town Meeting because he feels the argument, as it as constructed now, is not strong enough.

"We haven't constructed the arguement well enough," Siegenthaler said. "We need photos and we need feedback from the neighborhood."

Members of Finance Committee, which recommended disapproval for the article in its full scope, were asked for their input. 

Stephen Steele, a member of Finance Committee, said the disapproval recommended by the committee in large part was due to the scope of the article as it currently appears on the Special Town Meeting warrant. 

"It started out as a safety issue and sort of exploded," Steele said. 

The members of Finance Committee that were present on Monday night said they would reconsider their recommended disapproval on article 9 if the Selectmen voted to recommend approval for the alternate plan which would limit the scope and cost of the project. 

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