Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee Notes

The City Council’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee met with City staff on June 14. This is a summary of items presented and discussed.

Midtown Mall: The proposal for the Midtown Mall Development District and Maintenance Assessment was discussed. Community Development Director Ian Houseal told the Subcommittee members that his analysis shows a 60% assessment for property owners and 40% for City would be reasonable (initially, a two-thirds/one-third split was proposed).

Kristin Collins, an attorney for one of the property owners, had some questions about other businesses, specifically the Sanford Mill and Partners Bank, benefiting from use of the lot. Manager Buck explained that there is an economic development incentive involved for the Sanford Mill. Part of the incentive for Northland to redevelop the mill was the parking. For the Northland lot behind the mill, they are paying 100% of the maintenance for that. The City also had to dedicate 30 spots on other city-owned property as part of that agreement. He said the same economic initiative issue plays out for Partners Bank. The Subcommittee is in agreement that 60% assessment can go ahead.

Parking Lot Use: Northland, which owns the Sanford Mill, requested use of the City-owned Heritage Crossing parking lot to use for construction workers during mill renovations. City Manager Buck said the City has no issues with it, so the request will be approved.

Wilson St. Reconstruction: A written petition from Genest Concrete to the Municipal Officers of Sanford City Government was discussed. The company is requesting the reconstruction of Wilson Street in Sanford due to the heavy truck traffic generated by their operations there. Mayor Mastraccio expressed that she feels Genest has been a good partner in many ways, and she would like to have the City sit down and figure out how this street can get done. She said the company employs people and is a valued company and has been present for many years. The Subcommittee consensus was for the City to meet with Genest to discuss.

Streetlight Maintenance: Public Works Director Matt Hall presented a proposal to outsource maintenance of the City’s LED streetlights to Affinity LED Lighting of Dover, NH. Mr. Hill said his workers do not have the equipment, experience and certifications to perform this maintenance. The proposal will move forward to the full Council for approval.

Fall Festival: Parks and Recreation Director Brady Lloyd told the Subcommittee that Jon Bettis (who used to help coordinate the Pumpkin Fest with the Chamber) and New Beginnings Church would like to hold a Fall Festival at Number One Pond on September 24. The event would be similar to the Pumpkin Fest but with a different name. The Church carries insurance and would have to provide that, and they would have to hire police for road closures, etc.

The event and associated road closures were supported and consensus was to move to the full Council for approval. There was a discussion about road closures for non-city events and agreement that the City should formulate a policy. It was pointed out that there is already a procedure whereby event organizers meet with City staff to review a safety plan for such events, but agreed that a policy would formalize it.

Banners Over Main St.: There was discussion of once again allowing hanging of banners over Main Street. Mr. Buck said that using the forestry rig blocks part of the street and requires police presence, and doesn’t bear out the $50 fee. There are safety issues for workforce as well as drivers, as it encourages people to look up as opposed to watching the road. The suggestion of putting up a big Welcome to Sanford banner there and looking at allowing banners elsewhere was discussed. The tennis courts in Springvale are still available for banners to be hung.

Parks and Rec Updates

Trails: Brady Lloyd presented an update on trails. The ATV club has applied for and received a grant, which will cover the work done between Witham and Pleasant St. where reclaimed asphalt was laid to prevent dust. Roughly $10,000 of loose asphalt has been added and compacted. He noted this will probably cause increases in speed. The ATV club also did some grading to fix a washed out area across from Sherwin Williams, but then continued further and used equipment that caused loose material to be deposited on the trail. There was discussion about trail conditions in various locations which have deteriorated due to ATV use. The PD has tracked three complaints since the trails opened: two about trails being ridden on prior to opening day and one regarding Oak St. being used to get to the Rail Trail. There have also been four complaints to the Parks and Rec office. They have also had some noise complaints since opening. Detective Allen of the Sanford PD says they are in process of training more police officers on using ATVs so they can have more weekend patrols on the trail.

Carpentier Park: Mr. Lloyd reported the federal grant money to build a splash pad and new playground has a Build America, Buy America stipulation. All of the iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials must be produced in the United States. This will affect prices, and supply isn’t there right now, so it is a speed bump to the project moving forward. They are adding additional street lights on the High Street side facing into the park, as well as lighting on wall packs on the building, so people can see under the canopied area.

Holdsworth Park: New streetlights are being installed in the parking area.

Benton Park: The new playground equipment has been delivered and will be installed in the next week.

Revenue: Mr. Lloyd anticipates his Department will bring in $26,375 in revenue this year, a big increase from last year when the pandemic affected many programs.

Fields: Mr. Lloyd went through the list of fields the City mows, including the School Department fields. In all, the Parks and Rec Department cares for 60 acres of mowable turf. There was discussion about the Little League leadership. Mayor Mastraccio will invite them to meet with her and City staff to discuss cooperation and coordination moving forward.

More on Carpentier Park: A request by an adjacent homeowner to purchase part of Carpentier Park has been received. The homeowner is concerned about people congregating near her home and wants to have better lighting. The park needs to be surveyed to determine the exact boundaries; that will be done as part of the project there. Councilor Brink said she is not willing to sell any part of the park, as it’s a very dense area of the City and green space is important. She added that if people have been using park space as theirs, the City needs to deal with that. Mayor Mastraccio will let the homeowner know that the whole park will be surveyed and will encourage her to call the PD if there are people hanging out in that corner of the park and doing drugs.

Tractors: Mr. Lloyd presented quotes on two new tractors for the Parks Department that were approved in the 2022/23 budget. The price of the tractors has increased since the budget was made, but equipment no longer needed will be sold to cover the difference. The request will be forwarded to the Council for approval.