January 21, 2020

Pittsfield planners approve four major projects

PITTSFIELD – Town planners Monday night gave the go-ahead to four major construction projects that Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said indicate expansion and growth in Pittsfield.

The projects approved were an expansion at Sebasticook Valley Hospital, an expansion of an equipment yard at Cianbro Corp., an expansion and reopening of a former cafe and store on Sibley Pond, and the approval of the town’s application to seek grants to renovate a new public park.

All votes were unanimous and there was no opposition from the public to any of the four projects.

Michael Glencross, director of plant operations at SVH, said there are 13 active surgeons using a single operating room at the hospital. “We need another operating room,” he said.

In addition, the emergency department is getting 13,000 visits a year and has become too public for sensitive testing such as colonoscopies.

Glencross said the new surgical wing will provide several new testing rooms and will expand the pre-operative and recovery room area from three beds to eight beds.

The Cianbro expansion will be adjacent to its existing equipment yard off Detroit Avenue and consists of a fenced, landscaped area.

Michael Smith, owner of Sibley Cove Resort, told the planners that when the original cafe and store at his business burned down 10 years ago, he was underinsured and could not afford to replace the business.

“Now, we are trying to re-establish some presence,” he said. He proposed a small convenience store and takeout cafe, which will serve pizza, sandwiches and seafood. The business will augment the existing rental cabins.

Several council members complimented Smith on the upgrading of the cabins and property over the past several years. Smith said he would begin reconstruction of the building immediately.

The final project was the one that generated the most discussion. Ruth explained that a site review of the proposed plan for a park on Mill Pond was required before a grant could be applied for.

She sketched out the plan as only encompassing the 2-acre parcel recently donated to the town on Sebasticook Street by the Fendler family. The property had been a mobile home park along the north shore of the pond.

The work proposed includes removing the mobile home pads, cleaning up the area and grading it, cleaning up the shoreline, creating a picnic and parking area, siting a walking path and a flower garden and protecting the existing loon habitat on a peninsula by the park.

“This is such a beautiful spot,” said Ruth. “The Fendlers certainly had a good idea.”

Ruth explained that the town would not do any work on the park until the grant is approved since all town work will count as part of the town’s 50 percent match for the $190,000 grant. It will be late summer before the town will learn if it is successful in obtaining the grant.

“This is such a doable project,” she said. “People are going over there already.”

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