Yarmouth council considers public works garage referendum

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YARMOUTH — Residents will decide whether to spend $2.3 million for a public works garage if the Town Council next week sends the proposal to a November referendum.

The council decided at its Sept. 6 workshop to hold a final public hearing on the project at its next regular meeting on Sept. 20. At the meeting, the town planner will also make a presentation, Town Manager Nat Tupper said.

The proposal for the North Road garage was scaled back significantly from earlier projections that carried a price tag of about $7 million. The new, smaller project will add two bays for washing and maintenance, and buy land adjacent to the property to allow for future expansions.

The initial plan had a much larger vision that included building a new facility and moving two sports fields to make room for the larger facility.

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

At the workshop last week, the council also discussed spending $15,000 on an investigation for the Royal River restoration, which could potentially include the removal of the river’s two dams.

The town would be paying for less than 20 percent of the investigation, which will cost $88,000. The remainder of the money will come from grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sewall Foundation, Horizon Foundation and the Royal River Conservation Trust, which will assist the town with the investigation.

In addition to those two items, the council heard recommendations from the Parks and Public Lands Management Committee regarding off-leash dogs at town facilities.

The discussion stemmed from complaints about problems with dogs and owners not cleaning up after them at Sandy Point Beach, Tupper said. Although no specific proposal is on the table, the issue will be open for public comment at the council meeting on Sept. 20.

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