Middlefield will meet this week with state environmental officials to discuss the town’s request to put a hydrant for the fire department at the boat ramp.
In a report Monday to the Board of Selectmen, Brayshaw said he requested the meeting to once again bring before the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection the town’s desire to have a hydrant at the ramp. The so-called “wet hydrant” would allow firefighters to fill their truck’s tanks with lake water when fighting fires. Brayshaw said the town made a similar request to the environmental agency back in 2008, but DEEP officials at that time rejected the request. The state owns the boat ramp.
“It’s a turf war thing,” Brayshaw said. “We’re going to meet with them again this week and we’re going to try, once again, to get a wet hydrant for the fire department on Lake Beseck.”
Currently, when firefighters fill their trucks at the lake they have to drive the front wheels of the vehicles into the water and then a firefighter has to pull the hose off the truck and walk far enough out into the lake to submerge it.
Not only is it time consuming and inconvenient, the fire truck’s front tires run the risk of getting stuck in the mud of the lake.
Brayshaw characterized the town’s request for the hydrant “benign.”
“All we want is a small hydrant next to the lake.”
In other business at its meeting this week the selectmen:
- Approved looking into a request from the Parks and Recreation Commission to add two alternate members to the six-member commission. In a letter to selectmen the commission’s chairwoman said it is sometimes difficult attaining a quorum for meetings because the agency has too few members. While the selectmen expressed support for the idea, Brayshaw said the commission’s membership might be set by the town charter, which would make it difficult to add alternate members. He said he would look into the issue and report back to the board.
- Brayshaw reported that he was granted zoning approval to erect two “Welcome to Middlefield” signs that would be sponsored by the local Lions Club. Because of the town’s zoning rules the signs would not have been allowed. At Brayshaw’s request, however, the Planning and Zoning Commission revised the rules to give Brayshaw the authority to determine the specifications for the signs. The Lions, Brayshaw said, are now seeking funding for the signs and need several thousand dollars to have them made.
- Brayshaw reported that the town has a $250,000 grant to undertake repairs of the Miller Road Bridge. The bridge, built in 1936, is one of four town-owned bridges in Middlefield. It was inspected in 2008 and was found to be in need of repairs. “What we’re starting to do is gather information on what exactly is needed to bring the bridge up to snuff,” Brayshaw said. “The question is whether we can get the thing done for $250,000. It may require more money and we may put it off for a year.” He said it’s not clear whether the bridge has ever been repaired since it was built in 1936. The concrete on the underside of the span is deteriorating, and the rebar – the steel sections that support the concrete – is visible in places. But Brayshaw said there are no safety concerns with the problems, but the bridge will require repairs “in the next year or two.”