Farmington continues discussion on Community Center roof project

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FARMINGTON – On Tuesday evening, the Farmington select board received an update from Parks & Recreation Director Matthew Foster on the ongoing Community Center roof project. He reported that the department has received quotes from contractors with numbers much lower than those they received last year. The lowest quote estimated the project to cost $1.7 million.

The project is still in the works. Foster presented two options to the board: to do a complete renovation of the roof or to do a roof over. The latter would be a cheaper option involving building another roof on top of the current one. The older interior of the building would still be intact. The board decided to wait for more bids to come in before making an official decision on the particulars of the project.

“We need to have discussions more with the engineer and the construction firms on ironing out details to make sure that this will work,” Foster said.

They hope to sign a contract by this summer, although Foster reported that the contractor they are currently negotiating with cannot begin work until October. The board discussed the potential of pushing the project until the summer of 2025, as roofing projects are more difficult in the winter. Once a contract is signed, they will have two years to complete the project. Per a question from Vice Chairman Stephan Bunker, Town Manager Erica LaCroix clarified that a decision to assign the funds to the roof project will not impact this year’s budget.

The board plans to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to finance this project, which must be in contract by Dec. 31 in order for the town to take advantage of them. LaCroix encouraged the board to consider where else the funds could be dedicated on the chance that the roof contract is not signed by the end of the year.

The funds have a few requirements; they cannot go towards lowering the budget or giving raises, meaning it has to be a project not already considered in the budget. LaCroix suggested a project relating to storm and emergency preparedness.

“I don’t think we’re going to be escaping future events like we had,” she said, referring to the December storm. “What types of things do we need to be doing to make ourselves more resilient.” She listed a few possibilities, including infrastructure, materials, and community-related adaptations.

Despite her desire to be proactive, LaCroix admitted her optimism about completing the roof project soon now that the town is in negotiation with a contractor. “Having them step up to the plate and be seriously looking at this gives me a lot more hope,” she said.

The board will continue to discuss this project as the Parks & Recreation Department receives more information about the feasibility of their options.

This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at MtBlueTV.org

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