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:
The Minutes of the January and February meetings will be presented for approval at the March meeting.
The Treasurer’sReport 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.
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.
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