Residents of Sagamore Road in Gilford want road repairs

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — It was the road not taken.

And Wednesday night residents from the upper portion of Sagamore Road piled into town hall to complain that their road is not being considered for reconstruction in this summer's construction season.

Led by resident Howard Epstein, the attendees told selectmen that their road was unsafe and down to one paved lane for traffic in one place. He said one resident was nearly run off the road by a emergency vehicle because there was only one paved lane for both of them.

Others said the road should be a priority for safety reasons because it's windy and hilly with very little line of sight in places.

Epstein produced documentation that, as of June 26, 2015, Sagamore Road was scheduled for the 2016-17 season. He also said that every time it rains, a little more of upper Sagamore Road slides down the mountain.

Public Works Director Peter Nourse told the board he would not support changing the long-range five year plan, which has upper Sagamore scheduled to be reconstructed in 2018. After an hour-long unscheduled public hearing, selectmen agreed with him.

Nourse told the board that at the end of the 2015 season, the town was out of money and it paved only the lower portion of Sagamore.

As for upper Sagamore, he said "It is passable for two vehicles but not two vehicles on pavement." He added that some other roads in town that are a higher priority have no pavement left in certain places.

He said he and the Gunstock Acres Water District have been coordinating road construction with pipe construction and, to the best of his knowledge, upper Sagamore Road had relatively few water leaks as compared to other roads in Gunstock acres.

He said decent material must be used to build up upper Sagamore Road and that it will be a significant project planned for 2018. He mentioned the possibility of a shim and overlay but said he's not sure it would last for a significant enough amount of time to justify it.

When questioned, Nourse and selectmen said the process they used to determine which poor roads in a town with lots of poor roads get fixed first is based on multiple variables including traffic, the number of residents that live on it, the town's need to spread the wealth to all sections and whether or not it is a connector road.

When asked by selectmen what road they would sacrifice if it were up to them, most of those who answered said Foxglove Road but at least one said Old Lake Shore Road.

Selectmen asked Nourse to continue on the ongoing road projects like Mountain Road, one-half of Edgewater Drive and Saltmarsh Pond Road and report back to them on if he can project any surplus. At that point the board said it would consider the request.

Board members also told the Sagamore Road residents that potholes and washouts will still be repaired from the maintenance budget.

06-24 Gilford selectmen crowd

Gilford selectmen were confronted by a crowd of people concerned about paving plans for Sagamore Road on Wednesday evening. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Complaints about LaconiaFest nonpayments go to police

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Police Chief Chris Adams said Thursday that his department is evaluating reports of vendors who claim they were not paid by the organizers of last week's LaconiaFest.

He said police have fielded a few complaints that are being reviewed to determine if there is a criminal or civil component to the claim. All civil complaints have been referred to the state Attorney General's Office.

Adams said he wouldn't call what his department is doing an investigation but said it is acting as a kind of clearing house for the AG if a complaint comes to them.

The fallout from LaconiaFest was generated by a failed attempt to host a nine-day live music festival at the Weirs Beach Drive-In during the Annual Motorcycle Weeks.

Although three shows featuring mostly stars from 1970s and '80s bands drew crowds estimated at between 4,000 and 6,000, the projected ticket sales fell far short of what promoters had expected.

State Commissioner of Labor Jim Craig said his office received three complaints for failure to pay wages but two of them have been withdrawn. He said the department is looking in to the situation.

A lifetime of service ends - DPW Director Paul Moynihan to retire

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — After spending nearly four decades maintaining and rebuilding the city streets, storm drains and sewer mains, as well as managing the disposal of solid waste, Paul Moynihan will retire as Director of Public Works later this summer.

Born in Laconia and raised in Belmont, Moynihan earned his degree in civil engineering at the University of New Hampshire in 1973 and went to work for Public Service Company of New Hampshire. Five years later, he said that his family circumstances changed and he applied for a position with the city. He recalled that the Department of Public Works, then led by Frank DeNormandie, was in the throes of transition marked by the departure of the assistant director. The job fell to Moynihan, who held for the next 20 years before succeeding Frank Tilton as director in 2003.

Altogether, Moynihan has worked with three different directors, served under four city managers, 11 mayors and countless city councilors.

"It's really a team effort to maintain the public works in the city," Moynihan said. He named a bevy of retired and serving supervisors, engineering technicians, mechanics and office managers along with his assistant director Luke Powell as essential to the success of the department.

"I worked with a lot of good people and I met a lot of good people," he said. "It has been fun, fulfilling but relentless."

Describing the sanitary sewer and storm drainage systems as "the forgotten utility," Moynihan noted that there was significant investment in the first early and in the second late in his career. When he joined the department, the Winnipesaukee River Basin Project, the sanitary sewer system serving to municipalities in the Lakes Region, was just getting underway. He said that DeNormandie played a key role in the undertaking, working closely with state and federal officials. During the next decade, the Meredith, Jewett Brook Gilford and West Paugus Bay interceptors were constructed, with federal funds distributed through the Clean Water Act, representing three-quarters of the cost.

The city's sanitary sewer system includes some 60 miles of gravity line and 10 miles of force mains as well as 17 pump stations. He said that the system has been expanded at The Weirs along Roller Coaster Road, Scenic Road and Watson Road, but the long-range expansion plan to extend service to Wentworth Cove Road, Eastman Shore Road, Leighton Avenue and Hilliard Road has lain fallow.

With much of the city at the level of the lakes overlooked by steep slopes, Moynihan said that emphasis has increased on improving storm drainage to protect both property and water quality. In particular, he remarked that high water in 2006 left Busy Corner awash for the first time in his career and heavy rain washed a stretch of the boardwalk at The Weirs two years later. Drainage projects were completed on Highland Street, Mechanic Street, Chapin Terrace, Anthony Drive and Bisson Avenue between 2010 and 2014.

Moynihan said that the approach to street repairs has changed over the years as what he called the "worst first" philosophy has been overtaken by greater emphasis on "keeping the good roads good" by prolonging their life with regular maintenance. He explained that since 2001 the city has invested at least $1 million in street repairs and this year plans to invest $1.5 million. While money will be applied to the streets in worst condition, most will be spent forestalling the deterioration of roads in good condition. At the same time, Moynihan said that the cost per mile of road reconstruction has risen as projects now include improvements to drainage, curbs and sidewalks.

Moynihan said he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, three children and four grandchildren. At the same time, Moynihan, who is blessed with a wonderful singing voice, intends to devote more of his energy and talent to the Christian ministry with which he and his wife have been engaged for many years.

06-22 Paul Moynihan

Outside City Hall on fine day while public works projects were underway across the city, Director of Public Works Director Paul Moynihan spared time to recall his 38 years with the department and on the eve of his retirement next month. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)