Jay to participate in chestnut tree project

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JAY — Selectpersons approved a request from resident Rob Taylor on Monday to use a part of the town’s recreation land to plant about 160 hybrid chestnut tree seedlings as part of a Chestnut Tree Project.

Taylor is a member of the Recreation Committee and a teacher in Regional School Unit 73 in Jay. He was approached about the project by forester Patty Cormier, he said.

The trees are part of a research project in conjunction with the American Chestnut Tree Foundation to try and bring back chestnut trees that are resistant to chestnut blight and other pests, according to Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere’s information.

The trees are an experimental hybrid American-Chinese Chestnut.

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Taylor said the seedlings would be planted on about two-tenths of an acre near the edge of a field closest to the schools. The trees would be four rows of 40 trees spaced six feet apart. The town owns about 120 acres of recreation land behind Spruce Mountain high, middle and elementary schools.

Taylor said he would take eighth-graders to the site Sept. 5 to plant the trees. The students will monitor them.

In other recreation business, selectpersons voted 3-1 to allow the Recreation Committee to use $2,439 from the Tower/Recreation fund for improvements to the recreation area. The improvements include equipment such as shovels and wheelbarrows, geotextile fabric for trails, and a Music in the Park license to host live bands.

There is $151,971.74 in the fund. It produces monthly income of $1,012.53 related to a communications tower on the property, according to LaFreniere’s information.

Selectperson Judy Diaz opposed the vote while Chairman Terry Bergeron, Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo and Selectperson Gary McGrane voted in favor. Selectperson Keith Cornelio was absent.

The board also voted to use $626.25 to buy several parts for two broken TuffRiders spring riders at the Church Street Playground. The rocking motion toys, a motorcycle and a horse, have been removed and cones places over the springs, LaFreniere said.

It would cost $2,530 to replace the riders, she said.

Former Selectperson Tom Goding, a building contractor, volunteered to install the parts to fix the toys. 

In other business, selectpersons voted to allocate $250 from the board’s contingency fund toward a greater Franklin County broadband initiative to develop a plan to improve high-speed internet access. The town’s share, based on 94.49 road miles, is $1,913.42. Residents will be asked in November to consider allocating the remaining $1,663.42 from the undesignated fund.

There is $500 in the contingency account.

Charlie Woodworth of Freeman Township, a representative of Opportunity Center of North Franklin County, previously told the board that a $43,000 ConnectMe grant has been received, $58,000 would come from a Franklin County tax-increment financing agreement, and $20,000 from towns.

The majority of the towns have signed on to the project. Two, including Jay, are still thinking about it, and there are two that Woodworth still needed to speak with, he said.

The project is a grass-roots effort to determine what each town would need to implement broadband services for people who work at home, businesses, telemedicine, students doing homework and those taking college courses via the internet.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

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