The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 31, 2009

ConsCom considers Cranberry Bog house upkeep

Land Stewardship Committee members Warren Lyman and Debbie Geltner, along with farmer Mark Duffy, attended the July 16 Conservation Commission (ConsCom) meeting to discuss a Request for Proposals and draft of a lease for the third floor of the Cranberry Bog house.

“Without a lease, we are losing out on rent payments,” said Lyman. “Without a lease, we are at risk of not getting town funding for the bog house repairs because it will look like we’re not doing our best to get other types of income.”

Asked why the other floors are not included, Lyman explained, “The first and second floors are covered by the long-term lease that Mark Duffy has which expires in 2015.” The lower floors of the building are used in the agricultural operation of growing cranberries, while the third floor includes an apartment that has been used by workers.

Lyman brought up the subject of restoration of the bog house after having previously met with the Historical Commission and Community Preservation Committee (CPC). Last winter, ConsCom asked for $130,000 in Community Preservation Funding to preserve the old building and address safety issues. Not sure the amount would be adequate to restore the building, the CPC voted to table consideration of the application until the next round of funding requests next winter.

Lyman asked two local professional barn restorers to provide an assessment of the repairs necessary to maintain the structural integrity and one of the restorers subsequently made a free inspection of the building. “Is this guy a contractor or a registered engineer?” asked Tricia Smith. “If you want a structural opinion, you get it from a structural engineer, not a contractor.” Members decided that, considering the cost of a professional evaluation, there may be no choice.

“We might end up going to the town with two proposals, said Lyman. “One would be the same as last year and one would start to look at something more significant. We have to start to make that decision today.”

The commission agreed that they need to make their request to both the CPC and the Long Term Capital Requirements Committee for backup, since CPC denied them funding last year. However, Smith did not believe that ConsCom should make two proposals – a minimum one and expanded one.

“Extended renovation would only be in conjunction with community use outside of agricultural use, such as a dance hall,” said Smith with tongue in cheek. Another idea was a museum of cranberry memorabilia on the second floor, but the floor is presently unsafe and repair must be included in the minimum renovation.

Members finally decided to table the discussion to allow for more consideration of the alternatives. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito