Buckfield selectmen table motion on old grader

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BUCKFIELD — At a meeting Tuesday, selectmen decided for the second time to table a motion concerning the fate of an old, abandoned grader for at least two more weeks while more research is done.

Town Manager Cindy Dunn said the old grader, located behind the substation at the corner of Loring Hill and North Hill roads, was brought to her attention by resident Charles Rabon. He offered to remove it from the property at no cost to the town but would have to traverse an abutting property.

Dunn said she believes he’s received permission to do so. Two weeks ago, selectmen decided to table the item until they were able to look at photos of the machine and figure out their options.

Dunn gave the board options for the fate of the grader Tuesday. They could leave it where it is, restore it and display it on town-owned property or advertise it for sale by bid with the stipulation that the awarded party will be responsible for removing it.

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Dunn favors removing the equipment, fixing it up and displaying it at the town’s Public Works facility.

“The road foreman and I have talked. There are a couple locations on that complex we feel would be appropriate to place this piece of equipment,” she told the board.

She added she wasn’t sure of the age of the grader, but believes it’s quite old after looking at the steel wheels.

“There’s not a bit of plastic on it,” Dunn said, laughing. “Not one bit.”

Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Cheryl Coffman conducted her own research, and she recalls the equipment grading dirt roads in town when she was a child.

“My research has told me initially this was a horse-drawn grader and converted to a steel bar,” she said. “It is easy to say it’s not something you come upon every day. It’s a rare piece.”

Vice Chairman Scott Violette wondered what it would cost to remove the piece of equipment, which Dunn previously said is grown over with vegetation.

“To get it out of there, it’s going to be a trick,” Dunn said, noting there’s stone walls preventing its removal via North Hill Road.

It will take a heavy piece of equipment to remove it and hopefully only the road crew’s time, she added. Dunn suggested asking Rabon if he wanted to remove it, restore it and donate it back to the town.

“He seemed really interested. He just thought it was a neat piece of equipment, and it is,” she said.

“I think (we should) keep it where it is now and get some more information,” Violette said.

Coffman agreed and made a motion to table the decision until it could be figured out who could remove the grader and how it would be removed, and until a time frame for the project was established. The motion passed 2-0. Selectwoman Maida Demers-Dobson was absent due to a family emergency.

Resident Vivian Wadas suggested asking the town’s Historical Society if members would be interested in joining the project as they might know the history of the piece of equipment.

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