Will Yosemite be saved by the Town of Chester?

The old 1931 America LaFrance fire engine. Photo By Donna Allen
The old 1931 America LaFrance fire engine.
Photo By Donna Allen

 

BY DONNA ALLEN

The Vermont Journal

CHESTER, Vt. – On Friday afternoon, May 13, 2016 at 4 p.m., the Chester Select Board held a special meeting at the Yosemite Fire House for a look/see at the firehouse to begin a deeper look into the town of Chester accepting the offer of the building from the Chester Historical Society. In the midst of a downpour, folks ran in to check out the hose tower and the old fire equipment owned by the town (inventoried about six weeks ago) and stored in the building.

The Select Board has to decide by the end of July whether they want to store the equipment elsewhere at a cost of $300 per month or $3600 per year, or do they want to accept the building and use that money, $2900 in the historical society firehouse account which will be given to the town for the firehouse should they accept the building, money to be raised, and taxpayers money to restore the firehouse.

Following the tour downstairs, Chair John DeBenedetti called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance using small flags on the old 1931 America LaFrance fire engine.  Next the crowd went upstairs for a tour where the ceiling of the room had begun to fall down around the chimney from a roof leak. One small room housed the ladder to the attic, another just an empty room (the addition on the back of the building which is falling away from the structure). Also stored upstairs were four very large wheels for the old fire hose cart.

DeBenedetti then turned the meeting over to Town Manager David Pisha who explained the official committee that was to be formed over the next few weeks: 1. Make up: a variety of townspeople. 2. Since finances will play a role: some people with a financial background. 3. More than one perspective. Pisha then stated he did not feel it should be a large committee (maybe the 5-7 range) and that anyone could call him to show their interest in the committee. The committee will be subject to open meeting laws.

The Select Board would like to have the committee up and running by the first week in June with a report to the board by the first week in July, so they could make a decision and get back to Patch by the end of July.

Several people at the meeting volunteered for this committee: Shaun Cunningham, Bill Lindsey, Sue Forley, and Barry Pinski.

Other items on the agenda:

Water bids: The water bid was awarded to SUR Construction West, Inc. of Winchester, NH.

Citizens Comments: Barry Pinske offered that the fairgrounds at the southern end of town would be available to rent to store the water pipe during the project. Bill Dakin would be the one to contact. DeBenedetti offered that the town would probably have them use the land at the water treatment plant.

The meeting may be watched on SAPA-TV.

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