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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Moldy town hall a topic of discussion again at Wilton Town Meeting

WILTON – Except for refusing to spend $30,000 for a sidewalk plow, voters at Town Meeting on Thursday eventually approved everything on the warrant.

About 112 people attended the meeting, which took just over two hours at Florence Rideout Elementary School. It included the passage of a budget of $4,303,583.

A $10,000 engineering study of a century-old stone drainage way from Whiting Hill to the Souhegan River produced a spirited, although mostly friendly, debate. Some questioned the need for an engineer and said the town could fix the problems without one.

The old culvert is mainly on private property and two of the affected landowners agreed it should be moved to town property, where it could be more easily maintained. The culvert has been partly inspected by a remote camera and found to be blocked.

The collapsing drain is believed to contribute to the moisture entering Town Hall at the rear of the building and producing mold. Voters approved removing $20,000 from a reserve fund to install drains and pumps along Maple Street to try to cure that problem.

Digging down the 15 or more feet to the base of the back wall to install a new perimeter drain was earlier determined by selectmen to be both hugely expensive and impractical, given that no one knows the condition of the foundation wall after more than a century.

Mold has been discussed at the last three town meetings and has caused officials to stop renovations of the interior of the lower floor until it can be eliminated.

An article related to the town accepting the former Sacred Heart Church buildings was tabled for lack of adequate numbers for costs of utilities. It was noted that the Catholic Diocese has agreed to continue use of the building while a private group studies various possibilities.

Selectman Dan Donovan extended thanks on behalf of the town to Charles Crawford and Kimball Physics for the restoration of the “Dummy,” the traffic post at the end of Main Street.

A picture from 1928 was used to re-create the traffic light on the top.