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$2.88M bond goes to Yarmouth ballot

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$2.88M bond goes to Yarmouth ballot

YARMOUTH — A $2.88 million bond to renovate the Public Works Garage on North Road will be on the ballot Nov. 6.

On Sept. 20, the Town Council voted to move the referendum to the ballot after months of discussion and revisions to the project.

The proposal for the garage was scaled back significantly from earlier projections that put the price at about $7 million. The new, smaller project would add two bays for washing and maintenance, and buy land adjacent to the property to allow for future expansions.

The bond covers the cost of design and construction, as well as $375,000 to buy the adjacent land, Town Manager Nat Tupper said.

The initial plan called for building a new garage in the same location and moving two sports fields to make room for the larger facility.

The existing garage was built in the mid-1960s and handles all maintenance for town vehicles and equipment. It is also the home base for the school buses and snow plow operations in the winter.

Residents have raised concerns about the size of the project not being consistent with the fabric of the surrounding neighborhood, which includes day care centers, a playground and baseball fields.

Other residents wanted more buffering for light and noise, which Tupper said would be taken into account by the final design.

A $1.5 million bond for a new turf field at Yarmouth High School will join the garage bond on the ballot.

At its meeting, the council also approved spending $16,000 for a study that is part of the Royal River restoration project, which could ultimately include the removal of the river's two dams.

The town will pay for less than 20 percent of the study's $88,000 cost. The remainder of the cost will be funded by grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Sewall Foundation, the Horizon Foundation and the Royal River Conservation Trust.

The study should be underway this fall, before adverse weather sets in, Tupper said. Presentations of the findings will likely be held in early 2013, although some lab work and data on spring run-off may still be incomplete, he said.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.