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Memorial Gym and Roundabout Redesign

This concept for the redesign of the south Sanford roundabout
was approved by the City Council in February, but its high cost
has the City considering other alternatives.
Photo: Aceto Landscaping

By Zendelle Bouchard 

The City Council’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee met November 14, 2023. Members Mayor Becky Brink, Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy and Councilor Ayn Hanselmann discussed issues relating to Parks and Recreation and Public Works with City staffers. 

Parks and Recreation

Veterans Memorial Gym: Parks and Recreation Director Brady Lloyd asked if St. Thomas School could be put on the list to use the Gym for their future Mingle Jingle and Spring Fever events for the cost of cleaning only. The Council approved those events for this year only. Subcommittee members said that next year the Council can consider approving those events for the foreseeable future until St. Thomas builds its own function hall. 

Lloyd also proposed adjusting the cleaning cost that is charged to approved organizations to $45 per hour with a three-hour minimum, which represents the City’s actual cost for a custodian. The previously approved amount was $57 per hour with a two-hour minimum, which was based on what the School Department was charging when they controlled the building. This would raise the total fee from $114 to $135. 

There was discussion on revising the fee for renting the entire building. The promoter of the gun show told Lloyd the $150 per hour fee for Sanford/Springvale residents, which was recently approved by the Council, would make it too costly for them in future. Previously they were charged $60 per hour which is the cost of the gym floor only. Lloyd suggested for multi-day events, charging a lower rate for the second and third day might be a good compromise, and the Subcommittee members agreed. They also noted that they have received several emails complaining about a gun show being held next door to Sanford Pride Elementary School, so if the gun show moves to a different venue that would resolve those complaints.

Lloyd presented a quote for a floor covering for the Gym, which at $14,992.48 is higher than budgeted. Subcommittee members agreed that even at that price, it is a good investment to protect the floor and open up opportunities for more rentals of the space.

The revised cleaning cost, reduced fee for multi-day rental and floor covering purchase will all come before the full City Council for approval.

Mainers Contract Extension: There was discussion about the new terms for the contract between the City and the Sanford Mainers’ organization. Lloyd had proposed raising the per-game fee from $300 to $450, but Subcommittee members settled on $425, which represents the City’s actual costs. In exchange for the big increase in the per-game fee, the contract will eliminate the concession stand fee and the extra fee the team pays for games with attendance over 450 people. The City will also continue to cover the cost of installing team banners on street lights around town. The contract will come before the full Council for approval. 

Public Works 

Roundabout Redo: Matt Hill, Director of Public Works, joined the meeting to discuss plans for the redesign of the south Sanford roundabout. A design concept was approved by the Council in February (see this story), but the preliminary estimate of $387,500, including $125,000 for an art installation and $114,700 for plantings, was, in Hill’s words “pretty shocking.” He told the Council the project could still be done, but it would result in some road construction projects being delayed. 

City Manager Steve Buck, noting past failures to maintain plantings in the roundabout, asked for consideration of a hardscape design only, which would be maintenance free. He said the Rotary Club has expressed interest in donating a large flag and flagpole with lighting, and Marc Motors has also indicated they might contribute for landscaping. Hill reminded him that a flagpole could create a safety issue when it has to be lowered to half-staff and raised again. Brink said she thought a flag would be a distraction to drivers, and Herlihy agreed that the art installation would be better. 

No consensus was reached. Hill will work further on a plan and bring a timeline to the Council. 

Fleet Management Update: Hill presented his department’s updated Priority List of Vehicle and Equipment Acquisition. He said bids are being opened this week for the #2 item on the list, a ditching excavator. He explained that Public Works no longer has an operator who can run their large excavator, so they are looking for a smaller excavator that his operators can handle. Ditching alongside the roads improves drainage which reduces freezing and thawing, extending the life of the roadway. He expects to be able to sell the large excavator for more than the cost of the smaller one. The materials screen, another item on the priority list, would replace the current one which he said is always breaking down. All purchases are budgeted under Capital Improvements and approved by the Council. 

Councilor Hanselmann asked for a presentation at an upcoming Council meeting about winter maintenance and snow removal. City Manager Buck agreed it would help the public better understand the process. Hill added that the presentation could cover parking bans as well, to help residents understand how violations impact snow plowing. 

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