Saturday, February 18, 2017

February 15, 2017 Meeting Minutes

FNRT-MC logo
FNRT-MC, Draft Minutes of Meeting
February 15, 2017
Andover Fire House, Andover

Yet another snowstorm did not deter the Board from conducting a meeting that approved important actions for the Trail!

Board Attendees: Steve Darling, Heather Deardorff, Tom Frantz, George Heaton, Lindy Heim, Chris Norris,Nita Tomaszewski
Guests: Ricker Miller, and Special Guest Marty Parichand of Outdoor New England

Co-President Lindy Heim called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM; adjourned 9:02.
The February meeting had two major foci. First, a number of business matters that had been previewed in January were voted into action. Second, the Board was pleased to receive a presentation from Marty Parichand of Outdoor New England about plans for the Franklin Falls Whitewater Park and Outdoor Center.
Business Matters:
  1. The Minutes of the January and February meetings will be presented for approval at the March meeting.
  2. The Treasurer’s Report covered both the current financial status of FNRT-MC, and a proposed budget for 2017. As to the former, we happily note that funds now on hand should be sufficient to cover the cost of all the Trail maintenance projects discussed below.

    As to the budget offered by Treasurer Steve Darling for 2017, this was unanimously accepted.
  3. Trail Maintenance Projects have now become a time-critical item, given the pressing need to receive authorization, obtain any necessary State approvals, let contracts, and begin work in the early spring. A list of seven potential projects, prepared by Alex Bernhard, focused the discussion. These included – listed in the priority order that was the sense of the meeting: three bridge repair projects in Andover, vegetation removal in Franklin, repairing trail surface in E. Andover, Lawrence Street culvert repair in Andover, and various ditching and culvert cleaning needs along the length of the Trail.

    For all of these projects, contractors have been identified, and bids or estimates submitted. It was thus possible to arrive at a total budget.

    All of the projects were therefore authorized by the Board, subject to the proviso that if any unforeseen deviations from current cost estimates arose, the Board would be informed and would re-consider the matter.

    In each instance, a project manager has been designated from the Board.

    The project managers will report on progress at the next meeting.
  4. Trail Signage. Heather Deardorff presented the results of her significant work – along with Ed Hiller – on the Trail signage initiative. The signage anticipated would have two types: historic interpretive signs; and orientation signs. Working with a graphic artist, Heather offered draft signs for consideration, which were approved in general terms.Plans are also underway for ways to best display the new signage, and to install kiosks, at strategic points on the Trail.
    Heather will, before the next meeting, offer a fuller signage proposal for consideration at the next meeting.
    The consensus of the meeting was that the current FNRT-MC logo should be preserved. And that consistency of the logo and signs between Merrimack and Grafton Counties is both highly desirable and very feasible, given the coordination to date between the two counties.

    Presentation on Franklin Falls Whitewater Park and Outdoor Center
    The “special guest” of the meeting was Marty Parichand, of Outdoor New England. Marty is spearheading an initiative to transform the City of Franklin and its waterfront into a Whitewater Park and Outdoor Center.
    Marty made a fascinating presentation on the history of Franklin as a manufacturing center, of the current issues it faces from the decline of that industry, and of its future potential.
    The “envisioning” that Marty presented has Franklin at the center of a Central New Hampshire nexus for outdoor recreation, which would include biking/hiking/snowmobile trails, and a whitewater park. While the possibilities are vibrant, there are still many hurdles to be overcome, among them: river debris and pollution, infrastructure development, and funding.
    From the point of view of FNRT-MC, we applaud, and fully support, the efforts to use recreational facilities as an engine of economic growth in our region.
    The Board was most appreciative for this presentation.

    Next Meeting: March 15, 2017, First Congregational Church, 19 North Wilmot Road
    Respectfully Submitted, George Heaton

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 18, 2017 meeting minutes

FNRT-MC, Draft Minutes of Meeting
January 18, 2017
Danbury Community Center, Danbury

Board Attendees: Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, Heather Deardorff, George Heaton, Nita Tomaszewski

Guests: Ricker Miller, Dick Mackay and Ken Warren (Grafton County Trail representatives)
Vice-President Alex Bernhard called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM; adjourned 8:41.

The January meeting took place after a three-month hiatus. In addition to various business matters, the majority of the meeting was absorbed with presentations of plans and projects for 2017, to be considered further and voted on at the February meeting.

Business Matters:
  1. Chris Norris, Director. Chris Norris was unanimously approved as a new member of the Board of Directors of FNRT-MC. Although Chris has been a stalwart contributor to the Trail for years, it is good to welcome him to this new role.
  2. Minutes of the October Meeting were unanimously approved without alteration.
  3. The Treasurer’s Report focused on the presentation of a draft Budget for 2017. Based on discussion at the meeting, Steve Darling will offer a revised budget for Board approval at the February meeting.
  4. Correspondence received since the last meeting included the appointment of Steve Rayno to the position of “Trailmaster.” As other individuals have expressed interest in such a position as a way of supporting the Trail, the Board will consider this possibility at the February meeting.

Plans and Projects For 2017:
  1. Upgrade Website to WordPress. With general agreement that the FNRT-MC website would be much improved by changing to WordPress, Steve Darling was authorized to offer Heather Turner -- who has already been working at the project -- $300 to cover expenses and express thanks for completing this effort.
  2. Trail Signage. Prior to the meeting, Heather Deardorff met with Dick Mackay and Ken Warren, representatives from the Grafton County Trail, to consider upgrading and coordination of signage along the entire Northern Rail Trail, in both Merrimack and Grafton counties.

    Various signage issues are being addressed. Ken Warren presented a mock-up of a new logo for the entire Trail. This design will be considered at the February meeting. Heather Deardorff presented a draft of a historic “Northern Rail Trail” sign for use at kiosks and other strategic locations. Milepost markers were also discussed; as well as “URHere” markers with distances, and access via smartphones.

    Heather Deardorff, lead Board member for signage projects, was authorized to expend $850 to procure 5 “Historic” signs from the graphic designer currently involved in the project, to be placed along the Trail. Final copy for these signs will be discussed at the February meeting.
  3. Maintenance Projects. Alex Bernhard presented a list of six possible maintenance projects for 2017. Discussion of these possibilities yielded a general consensus that all 6 of the projects are worthwhile, and should be undertaken. A definitive vote on all proposed maintenance projects will be taken at the February meeting.

    One of the projects – vegetation removal in Franklin – has already seen considerable planning, and was already covered in prior budgeting. Nita Tomaszewski agreed to take responsibility for moving this forward now, as timely coordination is necessary with the Trail’s contractor, Prescott Towle, as well as the State.

    Another project – repairing the Trail surface in E. Andover – has already gotten underway through the efforts of Ricker Miller. Ricker will move this forward by contacting contractors and/or potential donors of services, and Alex Bernhard will provide advice on any State “alteration of terrain” permits that may be needed.

    Lastly, Lindy Heim (not in attendance) subsequently reminded the Board of the need for maintenance and lighting improvements on the Lawrence St. Bridge. This will also be considered in February.

Other Actions and Developments of Note:
  1. Signage. Jack Shields has procured – with Board approval via email –replacement milepost signs to mark the places of the two original mileposts that are missing from the Trail. In addition, the City of Concord has completed installation of signs with directions to the Trailhead. Lastly, the Board approved a motion for Jack to expend $150 for an information kiosk in Boscawen.

    The Board approved a Motion of Appreciation to Jack for his work on these projects.
  2. PanAm Abandonment of Right-of-Way. Alex Bernhard reported on the recent formal filing to the Surface Transportation Board for an “abandonment of service” by PanAm Railways of 6.1 miles of right-of-way in Concord and Boscawen on the west side of the Merrimack River. This action goes one step farther toward the goal of an extension of the Rail Trail into Concord. Other important steps yet to be taken include the expected approval of the “abandonment,” and a hoped-for purchase of the right-of-way by the State.
  3. Mascoma River Greenway. The representatives from Grafton Country reported on plans for an extension of the Trail at its northern end, which will include rail and tie removal and surfacing, expected to begin in the summer of 2017.
  4. Letter re “Missing” Mileposts. Both in discussion and in subsequent email communication, the Board approved the submission of a letter to the NH Trails Bureau requesting assistance in an effort to determine ownership of two “missing” mileposts currently installed at the residence of Roger Sanborn in Boscawen.
  5. Next Meeting: February 15, 2017, Andover Fire House, Andover. NOTE: this is a change from previously published venue in Boscawen.
Respectfully Submitted, George Heaton