Just over thirty people braved the latest nor’easter to attend a public meeting on Thursday night regarding the Marion Village improvement plan. Representatives Shawn Syde and Mike Guidice from CDM Smith reviewed information that outlined the need for improvements as well as a plan to get the area up to par. The study was tasked to answer the question, “how can the most cost effective project be developed that meets the Towns needs and objectives based on prior and future planning efforts?”
The information that was compiled to form the plan included a sewer study dating back to 2003, a village area sewer study, water and sewer improvements, building inspections, a drainage study, storm water sampling, a pavement study, and work group meetings. All the data collected showed that the area suffered from poor drainage, aging and damaged pipes and sub standard water run off.
A plan has been put together to address infrastructure issues in the village. Included in the project are water pipe repairs, which have already been completed, repairing broken sewers, repairing the drainage system, and repairing roadways including sidewalks and curbing to assure Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. The design has been broken down into five phases to make the project more manageable for the town. This would allow the town to complete a phase and then decide if they wish to move forward to the next phase. Phase 1A includes Ryder Lane and South Street. Phase 1B, the core village area includes parts of Main, Front, Cottage, Hiller and Water Streets. Phase 2 includes Pleasant Street, part of Main, School and Clark Streets. Phase 3 includes the rest of Front Street and Holmes Lane. Phase 4 includes Spring Street and some work on drainage on Allen Street. The plan includes a ten-year window to complete construction of all five phases.
To help lower the projected cost the elements of the project has been reduced to concrete sidewalks with granite curbing and new lighting throughout the village.
The estimated project costs were broken down to Phase 1A $5.2 million, with an end cost to the town of $3.88 million, Phase 1B $4.6 million, Phase 2 $3.9 million, Phase 3 $3.2 million, and Phase 4 $3.5 million. The total cost to the town of the entire project would be $18.4 million after the use of a MassWorks Infrastructure Grant of $1 million and approximately $1 million in Chapter 90 roadway funds. The town has also qualified for a DEP State Revolving Fund Loan Program which is a low interest loan at 2% for up to $19.3 million to be paid back over twenty years.
When the floor was opened for questions many people had concerns about the cost, increased sewer rates, and the unknown of how taxes would increase. Finance Director Judith Mooney said that there would be a cost breakdown brought forward by town meeting.
Many in attendance wanted to include a broad scope of work needed on all roads in Marion. Public Works Supervisor Robert Zora stated that there is a plan in the works that would use the chapter 90 funds, approximately $140,000 annually, plus other budgeted funds to address all road needs in the town in upcoming years.
One theme that kept arising from the citizens was a need for a big picture on all proposed improvements and projects the town sees need for in the immediate future.
The next step for the plan is to put Phase 1A out to bid so that actual construction costs will be known. There will be another meeting held on April 25 to focus on Phase 1A. Additionally there are two articles being proposed for the Annual Town Meeting, the first being a request for $3,882,000 to complete Phase 1A. The second article would request $297,000 to fund the design of phase 1B.
By Paul Lopes
The following maps show the phases of construction and the roadways affected.