No money for Oxford study

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GRANT — Jeff Stern, environmental planner for the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, pictured in the foreground, met with the Oxford Board of Selectmen at its May 3 meeting to discuss a matching grant application to fund erosion control repairs on Rabbit Valley Road.

OXFORD —The state has informed town officials that there is currently no money available in the Fiscal 2018 budget to do a feasibility study for the possible removal of the Welchville Dam.

The town recently applied for approval to submit an application to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) Resilience Grants Program that could fund a feasibility study of the Welchville Dam.

If it had been approved, the town would have gone forward with a feasibility study to determine the effects of the removal of the dam, particularly on Hogan and Whitney ponds.

Town officials and residents were told last year by Myron Petrovsky of MBP Consulting in Portland, that although the Welchville Dam is considered a “low-hazard” structure, if the dam fails the water levels of Whitney and Hogan ponds to drop at least five to six feet.

Asselin said  there will be about $30 million available after the new fiscal year on July 1. The board was encouraged to reapply for the grant money,

In other news, Asselin said the parking lot at the Town Office closest to the Oxford Elementary School will be inaccessible probably until the end of June.

The town is working on the sewer connection on Pleasant Street and has had to block off that parking lot while the project is underway. The parking lot on the opposite side is available for patrons.

The project is expected to be concluded by June 29 and will then proceed further up Pleasant Street.

The board was also informed that  Petrovsky and an engineer from the state have done a study of the Thompson Lake Dam.

Asselin reported that the dam appears to be in good shape, but several items need to be addressed. Electricity will be brought to the gate and a diver will be put in the water to look for leaks. The gate that regulates the water at the Robinson Mill has not been closing properly.

Jeff Stern, environmental planner for the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, met with the board about applying for a matching grant to help fund erosion control measures on Rabbit Valley Road that are affecting nearby Whitney and Hogan ponds.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net