Belmont’s recycled bridge - Dover’s covered bridge now spans the Tioga behind Belmont Mill

BELMONT — After three years of planning, measuring, driving nails and engineering, a 50-foot piece of a former pedestrian bridge that crossed the Cocheco River in Dover is now in place, spanning the Tioga River behind the Belmont Mill.
The span was gently laid in place by a single crane operated by Matt Roberts with volunteers from the Heritage and Conservation Commission on hand to guide it on to the footings built on each side of the river by Woody Fogg and Ron Mitchell.
The entire procedure took most of yesterday afternoon because the the section of bridge needed to be loaded on to a Public Works flatbed and guided by police to the Depot Street side of the river where the crane awaited. With the weather in the high 40s and not a cloud in the sky, people lined up along Main Street near the Mill Parking lot to see the operation.
Once the bridge arrived, it took about one-half hour to center it in its moorings. At one point, the ground in front of the crane needed shoring up because Roberts needed to walk it a little closer to the river than he first thought.
After the bridge was safely in place, most of those who worked on it let out a sigh of relief but were monosyllabic when asked about it.
"Done," said Mitchell who stood there with a small sledge hammer in one hand and a giant grin on his face.
"Nice job," said Land Use Technician Rick Ball.
Heritage Commission Chairman Wallace Rhodes took pictures with his laptop and said the bridge was going to make a wonderful enhancement to the area.
"We needed to span the river behind the mill to the gravel parking lot to give them access the trail. We want to put the rest of the bridge down behind Great Brook Village," said Woody Fogg, one of the coordinators of the project.
He said he knew the man who built the original bridge and was able to talk with him about how it was constructed.
"I knew we could cut the bridge apart at the splices and use the other two sections to span behind the village," Fogg said, noting the trestle was removed because of some sewer work. Along with putting the covered portion of the bridge on today, Fogg said there is still a great deal of carpentry that needs to be done before it's complete. Fogg also said that next spring they will build a gravel ramp that meets the standards of the American Disabilities Act.
The bridge was purchased by the Conservation Commission. Chairman Ken Knowlton said in 2013 that what once was a 154-foot-long covered pedestrian bridge, which originally spanned the Cocheco River, was bought by the commission for $1 from the city of Dover after efforts by Dover residents to keep in that community and use it as a centerpiece for a park fell short.
Built in 1996 at a cost of $162,845, the 8-foot-wide bridge was removed with a crane in 2010 and the city of Dover was looking to sell it in order to make way for a waterfront development.
Fogg said most of the funding for the project came from the balance of a grant that paid for the pavilion and an additional recreation grant procured by Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin. In addition, Fogg said crane owner Mark Roberts and his son Matt, a civil engineer with a degree from UNH, did much of the work at or below cost.
"We couldn't have done it without them," Fogg said.

New LRPA-TV station manager glad to be part of children's auction

LACONIA — Grace McNamara, station manager for Lakes Region Public Access Television since July, says that she is looking forward to being a part of the annual Children's Auction for the first time ever.
"I'm really excited about our live coverage of such an fantastic event which involves hundreds of volunteers from the community,'' says McNamara Monday as she helped set up the cameras which will be providing coverage starting at nine o'clock this morning.
The 33rd annual Children's Auction, which runs through Saturday, will be telecast by LRPA-TV on TV Channel 25 Metrocast. It will also be carried by Channel 12 Metrocast and broadcast live on FM stations, 104.9 The Hawk and WZEI 101.5, the auction's new radio partners.
McNamara said that about 45 students from the Huot Center at Laconia High School will be helping out during the auction, as well as about 20 LRPA-TV supporters.
''I'm really impressed by how well organized this event is and how the volunteer efforts are coordinated,'' says McNamara.
This will mark the the first time that the auction, now in its 33rd year, will be under the direction of the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children, a nonprofit corporation which earlier this year took sole ownership of the "Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction."
Since the first auction in 1982, which was conducted singlehandedly by Warren Bailey of WLNH, the auction has been effectively owned and operated by the radio station and its owners. Earlier this year, volunteers who devoted their time and energy to the success of the event reassessed the relationship with the station and chose to vest ownership of the auction in a nonprofit corporation — the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children.
Mike Seymour, chairman of the board of trustees, says that the format of the action will be largely unchanged and that there will be many familiar faces, including Bailey, Pat Kelly and Chris Ialuna.
Some 61 charities have applied for support from the auction with requests totaling $580,000.
Last year the auction raised $486,575, with nearly half of that coming from the popular Pubmania event hosted by Patrick's Pub.
The auction runs from today through Saturday Dec. 12; from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit the auction's website at www.childrensauction.com.

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Getting ready for the 33rd annual Children's Auction, which gets underway today at 9 a.m. from the Lake Opechee Conference Center, are Ed Darling, long-time volunteer; Zack Derby, program director for FM stations, 104.9 The Hawk and WZEI 101.5 , which will broadcast the auction; Grace McNamara. station manager for Lakes Region Public Access Television, which will televise ; Tony Felch, auction volunteer, and Zack Horne, LRPA technician. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Ed Darling, long-time volunteer for the Children's Auction, greets Grace McNamara, station manager for Lakes Region Public Access Television, who will be in charge of the live broadcast of the auction, and Zack Derby, program director for FM stations, 104.9 The Hawk and WZEI 101.5 , which will broadcast the auction and are the auction's new radio partners. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Solar Village infrastructure grant up for hearing on Monday


BELMONT —A $500,000 grant to improve infrastructure at the Solar Village neighborhood will be discussed at a public hearing Monday.

The selectmen's hearing takes place at 5:15 p.m. at the Corner Meeting House on a proposed application to the Community Development Finance Authority for up to $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for infrastructure upgrades at Solar Village, a neighborhood of 48 homes located off of Ladd Hill Road.
The town will retain up to $25,000 for administrative expenses and the remainder will be used toward the upgrades. The majority of the residences are low- and moderate-income households, which meets the criteria that all such projects must primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons.
Up to $500,000 annually is available through the Community Development Finance Authority on a competitive basis for economic development, and public facility and housing projects, up to $350,000 in emergency activities and up to $12,000 is available for feasibility study grants.
There will also be public hearings following on the Residential Anti-displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan and progress of the Solar Village Planning Study. Pathways Consulting performed a study of the existing infrastructure to determine necessary upgrades and cost estimates for those improvements.