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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nashua aldermen want more info before approving Mine Falls boardwalk contract

Members of the city’s Finance Committee are asking to see a finished contract before they sign off on plans to design a new boardwalk beside Mill Pond.

The Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee proposes hiring Holden Engineering & Surveying, of Bedford, to design a boardwalk on the south side of the pond. The Board of Public Works is backing the idea, but with negotiations continuing over the final terms of the contract, aldermen were reticent earlier this month to authorize the work. ...

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Members of the city’s Finance Committee are asking to see a finished contract before they sign off on plans to design a new boardwalk beside Mill Pond.

The Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee proposes hiring Holden Engineering & Surveying, of Bedford, to design a boardwalk on the south side of the pond. The Board of Public Works is backing the idea, but with negotiations continuing over the final terms of the contract, aldermen were reticent earlier this month to authorize the work.

The Finance Committee tabled a request to approve spending up to $20,000 from the Mine Falls Park Trust Fund to pay for the design work. Alderman-at-Large Dan Moriarty said he was concerned that approving a dollar amount without seeing a finished contract was tantamount to signing a blank check.

“I’m looking at this and saying, ‘The i’s are not dotted and the t’s are not crossed,” Ward 6 Alderman Paul Chasse said.

With exposed tree roots and steep slopes, a portion of the Red Trail has become a challenge for some users to navigate. The dirt path has eroded so much that it becomes narrow in places, with a steep drop-off toward the pond.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said the area also is prime wetland, and conservation officials believe it’s important to prevent erosion and bring vegetation back to the trail – a goal that would be easier to accomplish if users travel across a raised boardwalk.

Although members of the Finance Committee delayed taking action on the proposal, they voiced support for the idea. Alderman-at-Large David Deane said he has viewed similar structures in parts of the White Mountains with heavy tree growth.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “There’s areas within Mine Falls where, you know, you don’t want to go in there and start disturbing everything, and this would stop that.”

Ward 9 Alderman Ken Siegel concurred, saying he frequently walks and bikes the trails at Mine Falls.

“I absolutely am in favor of this,” he said.

– JIM HADDADIN