The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 3, 2000


State inspection indicates Greenough Dam in need of repair

The Carlisle Conservation Commission has received confirmation of their concern about the continuing stability of the Greenough Dam, following a recent inspection by the dam safety office of the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM). To quote an October 17 inspector's letter to the commission, "Your dam appears to be in fair to poor condition and not satisfactorily maintained. Deficiencies listed in the attached report should be attended to at your earliest opportunity."

The dam in question is a critical feature of the 242-acre Greenough Conservation Land, purchased by the town in 1973. It checks the flow of Pages Brook to form the 21-acre Greenough Pond. A classic barn, old farmhouse and several acres of farm land are located off Maple Street on the eastern side of the pond.

The DEM recommendations can be summarized as follows:

· Hire a registered professional civil engineer experienced in dam construction and repair to oversee the project

· Clear trees and brush from the ten-foot crown, and from the upstream and downstream slopes

· Remove tree and brush roots, check for seepage and repair as necessary

· Check for animal activity and repair existing damage

· Clear debris from spillway entrances and

· Prepare an operation and maintenance plan.

In the commission's ongoing effort to resolve another problem at the site, Paul Booth was invited to attend the October 26 ConsCom meeting. Booth has been living in the old Greenough farmhouse in order to, as chair Carolyn Kiely described, "guard the town's interests at Greenough". The commissioners were seeking an up-to-date assessment of the condition of the house and barn. Booth reported, "It's an old farmhouse and badly needs attention before it gets a lot worse." His list of needed repairs, covering items from roof to sills, would appear to run over $50,000. In addition, as the commission is well aware, for a family with children to be able to live there, lead paint would first have to be removed.

Booth's summary corroborates what a ConsCom subcommittee determined after two years of investigations and served as the basis for issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP). Unfortunately, wide advertising of the search for someone to lease, live in and repair the house on an in-kind basis over a five-year period brought only two bids, neither of which was deemed "appropriate" to the listed requirements.

On the positive side, conservation administrator Sylvia Willard told the board that the office has recently received several indications of interest in the status of the house and barn. Meanwhile, Kiely has recommended that a "swat team" be formed to evaluate the town's options and hopefully come up with some creative suggestions. Commissioner Eric Jensen, a veteran of the original subcommittee has volunteered to participate.

The basic facts have been researched, but the solution has been elusive. If you are a lover of the Greenough retreat or merely a citizen who is good at brainstorming knotty problems, your participation in a brief, but intense, effort would be most welcome. Further information is available from the ConsCom office at 369-0336.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito