The Recorder – Conway voters approve Archibald MacLeish Stone House river easements and renovations

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Published: 05/06/2022 14:03:08

Modified: 05/06/2022 14:00:58

CONWAY — About 100 Annual Municipal Meeting voters gave their approval to 35 items on Saturday, including allowing the Selectboard to acquire a permanent easement at 69 Main St. to undertake flood mitigation measures on the South River.

Other key items that inspired discussion among residents gathered at Conway Grammar School were a request for $100,000 for the city’s Fire Truck Stabilization Fund and a request for $42,388 from the Historical Society. for the renovation of the Archibald MacLeish stone house.

Section 8 asked the city to set aside $100,000 for the Fire Truck Stabilization Fund, which will be used to purchase a new rescue pumper in 2028. Finance Committee Chairman Alan Singer, called the article “confusing and inconsistent”, noting that there are already several stabilizations. funds. He noted that he was among those who initially voted to recommend the fund, but had since begun to doubt its financial viability.

Resident Howard Boyden said that while Singer has a good case, fire trucks “aren’t what they used to be” and are now custom built.

“Having a fire truck stabilization fund is a way to be proactive,” Boyden said.

In a telephone interview, Fire Chief Bob Baker noted that the last fire truck purchased by the department cost $435,000, with the current cost estimated at around $650,000. It’s unclear how the cost might change by 2028.

Section 8 was finally adopted.

The easement at 69 Main Street was discussed in Section 28. City officials have requested an easement at the rear of the property, which will allow the city to carry out the necessary work to mitigate flooding downtown. town of Conway. In addition, Section 29 instructed voters to deduct $63,850 from the Community Preservation Fund for fees and expenses related to land acquisition, rights of way, easements and other charges for 69 Main Street, as well as two unnumbered parcels along Shelburne Falls Road.

Joe Strzegowski, associate member of the Planning Council, noted that since the portion of land on which the flood mitigation work will take place is unbuildable, it is unlikely to strain the city’s finances. Article 28 is adopted by the necessary two-thirds majority.

Item 29 also included a request for $42,388 from the Historical Society for the renovation of the Archibald MacLeish Stone House on Pine Hill Road. MacLeish, a longtime resident of Conway, was an American poet and writer who won three Pulitzer Prizes and also served as the ninth Librarian of Congress.

However, despite praise from its former resident, the Archibald MacLeish Stone House has been in disrepair for several years, something the Historical Society hopes to change. According to Historical Society President Peter Engelman, the plan is to preserve and renovate the structure so that it can be used for special events such as the Festival of the Hills. Engelman said the society has a budget of $50,000, with 40 Conway residents having donated money.

Resident Mary McClintock asked who owned the property, while raising accessibility issues. Engelman replied that the current owners will lease the property to the Historical Society and that the lease will become permanent upon their death. As for accessibility, Engelman said the company plans to build a handicap-accessible path from the house to a small parking lot.

Article 29 was adopted by 96 votes against 10 by electronic vote.

Other articles on the mandate included:

■ Modify the floodplain district to comply with federal insurance standards.

■ Authorize the city to seek special legislation to allow Police Chief Ken Ouimette and Constable Randall Williams to serve past age 65.

■Allocation of $21,600 for emergency pagers for the ambulance and fire department.

■Allocation of a credit of $7,400 for two portable speed radar detectors for the Police Department.

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