FARMINGTON — Selectmen at their April 23 meeting voted to reject a masonry bid for the fence at Hippach Field and look into costs to design a plan for the project.

There was quite a bit of initial interest for all three parts of the project, the concrete, excavation and masonry work, Matt Foster, director of Farmington Parks and Recreation Department said. “I was a bit surprised when we only received one bid for the masonry and not the other portions of the project,” he noted. “The masonry bid was pretty high anyway, was more than we had budgeted for the project.”

The concrete and excavation work are needed for the project, Foster stated. Initial feedback from an interested contractor was apprehension over not having engineered plans for it, he said. If the project were to be put out to bid again, Foster was not sure if bids would be received given the comfort level of the contractors.

Looking into costs for an engineer to design a plan was one option the Select Board could consider, Foster said. If it was found the cost to do so would be too much, a Plan B would be needed, he noted.

Selectman Byron Staples asked if brick was specifically chosen for the project.’

I believe the selectmen approved the brick in 2022,” Foster replied.


Town Manager Erica LaCroix spoke of discussing using brick over other materials due to its durability, that it would save the town money.

It could take a couple of years to get a plan designed, it might be cheaper to put up a wood or composite fence, Staples suggested.

That isn’t a good option as wood doesn’t have a good lifespan, it would warp from being too close to the road, Foster said. “That has been the feedback from everybody we have talked with,” he noted. “The wood and metal structure we have been using, if you drive by it now it looks like that every spring.”

Staff work off and on throughout the spring and summer to get it painted, Foster said. For a time it looks great, then it is ugly, an eyesore to the downtown, he stated.

“One of the contractors I spoke with was in the high school class with Mike Fogg who built the original [fence] years ago,” Foster noted. “He said it was such a bad idea they never should have done it in the first place. It was more difficult than what they should have taken on.”

The fence has been in disrepair for several years, Foster said. It is more expensive to keep replacing it than a brick fence would be, he noted. Other options have astronomical costs, will still rust and stain, he said.


Foster said he was notified last year by Public Works Director Phil Hutchins that municipal projects over $100,000 must be engineered, then the Legislature changed it to $300,000.

The Hippach Field fence is prominent, if something happens the contractor’s name and reputation is tied to it, Foster noted.

When asked about engineers available to take on the project, Foster said there are several around the state he could contact.

“We are finding some of the local contractors maybe don’t want to pursue it if there is not a plan in place to go by, it is not engineered properly” he stated. “That may not be a bad idea.”

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