KINGFIELD — Repairs to West Kingfield Road and properties along it will begin this week, Administrative Assistant Douglas Marble told selectmen Monday night.
The federal government will pay 75 percent of the cost, he said.
The damage was caused by Tropical Storm Irene this past summer, which soaked the area and sent Rapid Stream over its banks. Timberlands owned by Bayroot LLC were flooded, properties and the road shoulder damaged and a gravel berm washed away.
The town qualifies for funding through the U.S.D.A.'s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Marble said, and NRCS conservationist Paul Hersey has authorized paying 75 percent of the repairs. Homeowners and camp owners on the road will contribute $10,000, and property owner Walter Kilbreth will volunteer his time to supervise the replacement of a 170-foot section of riprap.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has issued a permit-by-rule for the project, and Kilbreth said he plans to start the repairs within the week.
No taxpayer dollars will be spent on the project, Marble emphasized.
In other business Monday, selectmen scheduled a meeting for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Webster Hall, to discuss any wastewater billing changes with property owners. Selectmen have updated the list of single- and multi-use dwellings on the town’s system. Those updates can mean some property owners will see an increase, while others will see a decrease, on future bills.
A few residents have called the town office, thinking the rates were going to increase, Marble said, so selectmen decided to review their findings at a public meeting to explain the process and clarify any misconceptions.
Selectmen also met with Rodney Lynch, the town’s new economic and community development director. Lynch said preparation for the Maine Department of Transportation’s future overhaul of Route 27 through downtown Kingfield, would be his first priority.
“I’ll be looking for grants to help with the update, and MDOT really wants the town to have input into the plan,” he said.
Because the townspeople have been proactive, Lynch said, MDOT has been able to advance its timetable to start the project. The town will have to pay extra costs for improvements such as granite curbs and street lights.
Some private homes may be eligible for historic preservation status, he said. The National Register of Historic Places could bring benefits to the town, but individual homeowners would have to apply for any financial benefits.
“There is a lot to do, as we all know,” Lynch said. “It takes time, and it’s been a lot of hard work from a lot of dedicated people in this community.”
The Recreation Department has received $1,000 from the Sugarloaf Region Charitable Trust and $5,000 from the Maine Community Foundation to upgrade the town park for year-round use. Their newly-opened skating rink will have a light with a timer that will turn on at 4 p.m. and off at 9 p.m.
Representative Sarah Churchill said the department would like to build a warming hut, but the building could be used for other activities. Churchill announced that they will host a Winter Carnival on March 2 and 3, in conjunction with the town’s First Friday Artwalk.