Yarmouth council OKs funds for Cousins Island Community House, hears plan to turn off street lights

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YARMOUTH — The Town Council unanimously approved spending $35,000 from surplus to fix the roof of the Cousins Island Community House.

According to a memo from Town Engineer Dan Jellis, there are two proposals being considered: removal and replacement of the roof, or repair of the existing roof. A committee comprised of Town Council Chairman Mark Hough, Councilor Erv Bickford, Town Manager Nat Tupper, Jellis and Cousins Island resident Mike Gentile will discuss the proposals and make a decision within a few weeks.

The Community House at 422 Cousins Street is a seasonal community gathering space and can be rented for parties, meetings or receptions from April 1 through Dec. 1. It was built in 1928. Jellis said part of the roof is sagging, some of the support beams show signs of weakness and are cracking, and a fire in the back of the building has charred and damaged a few of the structural beams.

“The roof needs to be shingled,” Jellis said. “But it needs the structural work first in order for it to be safe enough to shingle.”

For about $29,000, Doug Hall of CDH Properties has proposed removing the existing roof and providing temporary support walls under the ceiling, leveling the existing walls and constructing a new roof with shingles. His proposal does not include electrical work, permitting, engineering costs or trim painting.

Mike Darling of Michael C. Darling Builder submitted a $25,000 proposal that would use steel ties to bind the walls and stop them from spreading. His proposal would replace the roof boards, add new rafters between the existing rafters and shingle the roof. His estimate does not include new roof boards that may be needed, electrical or trim work, or engineering costs.

Jellis said work could start as soon as the Cousins Island Community House committee makes a recommendation.

In other business on Jan. 7, the council approved a town application on behalf of Bartlett Circle senior housing for a community development block grant for repairs to the community center. The grant would help upgrade the bathroom and kitchen, and create adequate heating and hot water capacity during emergency situations.

In a workshop session, the Town Council heard a report from the Yarmouth Energy Savers committee on the “Street Lights Out” campaign. The goal of the organization is to help the town save money and conserve energy.

Marge Titcomb, chairwoman of YES, told the council that by removing 30 percent of the existing street lights in town, the town could save $24,000 a year. The organization has identified about 125 out of 641 lights that it believes are not needed.

The proposed street light map has been given to the police and fire chiefs and the Public Works Department for review. After their responses, the group will mark the street lights proposed to be eliminated. There will be opportunities for the public to comment on specific lights and the map will be made public after the fire, police and public works departments review the proposal.

“We want a lot of public response,” Titcomb said. “There is only so much we can do, and need more eyes on the project.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]