SUMNER – Selectmen from Sumner and Hartford voted Wednesday night to reject all bids for removing Russell Road Bridge and investigate the cost of repairing it.

Sumner Selectman Tom Standard said the bridge that links the two towns over the Nezinscot River will remain.

The boards of selectmen met at the Hartford Town Hall one night after Sumner selectmen heard residents say they wanted to keep the bridge.

Town Fire Warden Wally Litchfield spoke on behalf of firemen and requested that selectmen reconsider supporting the proposal to tear down the bridge. Litchfield said the Fire Department’s priorities are preserving life, property and the environment, and without the bridge access is limited and could be hazardous in the case of a fire.

Litchfield said he spoke to David Bragg, a contractor and resident of Sumner, who said the bridge has two support girders and he has two more he is willing to donate to help stabilize the bridge. Bragg did a quick estimate and believes that the bridge can be repaired for approximately $2,100.

Resident Bob Runes said he looked over the bridge and thought it looked good. He said he would like to see the bridge repaired, and he reminded selectmen that once it is removed replacing it becomes unaffordable.

A letter read by Standard from Hartford Road Commissioner Alan McNeil requested that the bridge not be removed.

Selectman Cliff McNeil made it clear that it was never the selectmen’s wish to support removal, but until recently there didn’t seem to be any interest from the residents of Sumner to keep the bridge.

Selectmen entered a contract with Timothy Cox from Ultimate Care in Livermore to repair damaged headstones in the Black Mountain, Fields Hill and Robinson cemeteries.

Town Secretary Cindy Norton told selectmen that Phyllis Corson of Sumner called her early Tuesday morning to say that she found four puppies on a Buckfield road. Because the animals were found in Buckfield, it was suggested that Corson call Robert Larrabee, animal control officer for Buckfield. Larrabee picked up the puppies and delivered them to the Allen Hill Animal Shelter in Oxford.

Employees of Oxford Telephone Co. in Buckfield assisted Norton with restringing the flagpole at the Sumner Town Office. Age and weather caused the rope, used to raise and lower the flag, to break. A crew from Oxford Telephone working in front of the town office was approached by Norton for assistance, and using a bucket truck they quickly attached the rope. Weather permitting, the flag will be raised Thursday.

There will be a public hearing on a proposed subdivision at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at the town office. The plan may be viewed at the office during the hours of 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

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