Litchfield Skate Park Faces Uncertain Future
by Lynne Ober
Litchfield Selectmen are concerned about the current condition of Litchfield’s Skate Park. The ramps were originally built of untreated wood and have fallen into disrepair.
Horace Seymour, Chairman of the Recreation Committee, met with Selectmen to answer questions and craft the future of this facility. He told Selectmen that many of the older parks are wood, but newer parks are built with concrete or metal ramps.
At a previous meeting Selectman Jack Pinciaro had made a motion to dismantle the ramps and close the skate park because of the dangerous situation at the park, but Selectmen had agreed to meet with Seymour at this week’s meeting before taking any action. “It’s a dangerous situation,” said Pinciaro. “We don’t have money in the budget for repairs.”
Selectman Pat Jewett had made an inspection tour of the park and had discovered the following issues:
• The gate has been broken again.
• The light near the building has been broken again. Jewett reminded Seymour that PSNH said they would not repair it again if more vandalism occurred. “They can only break this by climbing onto the porch roof and pitching boulders at it,” Jewett commented. “It costs $180 to fix every time this happens.”
• There’s a large hole cut in the fence at the back of the skate park.
• “It looks like a pig sty,” Jewett said and told Seymour that she found several articles of clothing in the mud. “I picked them up and stuck them in the fence.”
• Jewett filled a large sack with cans, but thought that approximately 200 cans were still strewn around the area.
• Her biggest concern was the safety of the ramps which she characterized as badly in need of repair.
Selectman Ray Peeples also concurred that the skate park needs repair and noted that the Town had spent quite a bit of money several years ago to keep the skate park open, but it had continued to deteriorate.
“It’s a shame that a few people cause so much vandalism,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Cecil Williams, who also noted that lack of supervision was a big issue. “When this opened, parents said they would be around to supervise, but that hasn’t happened.”
Fire Chief Tom Schofield noted that the Fire Department has received several calls from the park. “It’s usually about injuries,” he stated, but recalled one call when people tried to burn some of the wooden structures.
Seymour wanted to wait until the Recreation Committee could meet and discuss, but Selectmen were concerned about the dangerous status of the park and told him to poll the members and to close the park. “We can’t afford to wait for a few weeks,” said Williams.
Seymour admitted that closing the park had been difficult because signs were torn down and holes were cut in the fence so that people could get in. He also told Selectmen that the park had been designed for skateboarders and that most of the damage came from people riding bikes on the ramps. Selectmen will make a decision at their next meeting.
Greater Hudson Chamber of Commerce Business Expo
The Greater Hudson Chamber’s Annual Business Expo recently held at the American Legion in Hudson brought together local businesses to network and share with the community their products and services. The region has seen many new businesses establishing themselves in the community and the expo was an opportunity to showcase them. Each attendee was invited to enjoy a light buffet, giveaways from each exhibitor as well as entry into the grand prize drawing of a Home Theater System. The winner of the grand prize was Gil Liran of Prudential Verani-Crain Realty. Some of the businesses that participated in the event included: The Computer Hut, U.S. Small Business Administration, Anastasia’s Table Personal Chef, Cote Insurance, Diamond Cheer Center, Sam’s Club, Carpet Network of Hudson, Ocean National, Peace & Serenity Wellness Center, State Farm Insurance, Self-Mastery Hypnosis, and the event sponsors: Citizens Bank, Merrimack Mortgage, Regional Plumbing & Heating and the Telegraph.
The Switch is On
submitted by Dave Yates, Recreation Director
Since the approval by the Board of Selectman for the Recreation Department's use of the Community Center, the Recreation Department has been busy with planning. To date the following is a brief outline of progress.
The Planning Board has released $86,000 from the Recreation Funds for renovations and improvements to the building,
After sending bids to five contractors and advertising, two bids were received for the relocation of the heating and air conditioning duct work. The work was awarded to Rockingham Sheet Metal Inc. and work will be started on May 16. The contractor will need one week to accomplish the work.
Electric work will start the following week, which will include: wire cage guards over existing lights, wall sconces will be raised to allow for wall padding, a flood light with dimmer switch will be installed for stage lighting, outlets will be installed in the coat room for the satellite office to be used during Summer Program.
Wall padding has been ordered and should be received by the end of May. Curtain dividers have been received.
I met with Kevin Burns about preparing the outside of the building for the Summer Program. The following will be accomplished by the Highway Department: Four-Square painting, install temporary sand volleyball court, install temporary sand play area, and install temporary fencing along street.
Portable basketball hoops, volleyball and tetherball equipment has been received.
I have met with a Boy Scout from Troop 22 and he is interested in organizing the painting of the exterior trim of the building to include the installation of a replacement sign. He will be making a presentation to the Recreation Committee at their May 12 meeting.
Not only have we been busy with the progress of the Community Center, we are also concerned about making the Recreation Center suitable for the needs of the Hudson Seniors Meals on Wheels Program for the 16 days during the Summer Program. I met with Megan Brady, Executive Director, St. Joseph's Community Services about what changes must be accomplished to make the Recreation Center suitable for the sixteen days. Megan felt the building was big enough to support the number of seniors that attend the program. She referred us to Robert Brodeau from the State of New Hampshire Health and Human Services to see if the kitchen met their criteria. After meeting with Mr. Brodeau, he said the kitchen would be suitable for the 16 service days. A cook stove and oven would need to be provided. A letter would need to be obtained from the Meals on Wheels Program stating that they assume responsibility for rinsing and sanitizing all containers and utensils.
If further information is needed about this project, call the Recreation Center at 880-1600.