They have been identified as one of the most important assets the Town of Mattapoisett owns, its historic wharves. Now, after years of concern and discussion of the crumbling underpinnings of the longest wharf, bids have been received from four firms for the study of Long Wharf’s current condition and schematic engineering, a precursor to repairs.
Town Administrator Mike Lorenco said during Tuesday night’s Mattapoisett Select Board meeting that bids range from $257,000 to $390,000, that the town’s required portion is $54,000 (appropriated at the last Town Meeting) and that an addendum to the RFQ requested bidders to provide a separate estimate for construction on-site services.
Lorenco said it would take some time to review the voluminous sets of documents submitted by the bidders. Board member Tyler Macallister asked that the substance of the bids be summarized, removing the fluff and highlighting the significant data for clarity’s sake.
Board member Jodi Bauer suggested that one or more members of the Marine Advisory Board be asked to assist in evaluating the bids. Select Board Chairman Jordan Collyer suggested MAB Chairman Carlos DeSousa act as their representative.
Lorenco also said that three public hearings would be held to allow for public discourse once a bidder is selected and reports and designs are prepared. He also said that once there is a clear vision for the construction phases, another grant from the Seaport Economic Council would be sought. Actual construction is at least two years away, Lorenco said.
On the matter of private dirt roads, the Select Board approved agreements with the owners of Ocean Breeze Lane and Greenbough Drive for snowplowing and road repairs with the cost of materials being invoiced to the property owners. Collyer explained, “We provide the labor, they pay for the materials.” He also said that snowplowing goes “hand in hand” with roadway repairs to ensure that the plows would not be damaged due to inferior road surfaces.
Signed agreements between the town and the property owners is mandatory before the town will provide the labor for repairs or do snowplowing, the board concurred. Collyer also noted that once there is such an agreement in place, the roadways must be open for “pass and repass” of all vehicles and that no encumbrances or signage stopping vehicles from traveling on the road are allowed.
Regarding Hereford Road, a private road, Collyer said that the town should pay for materials associated with maintaining the dirt roadway due to its heavy use by the Water and Sewer Departments to service equipment located in the area.
Earlier in the meeting, the board approved four aquaculture permits. The permit holders are: Dale Levitt, Blue Stream LLC for 30 areas; Bob Field, Copper Beech Oyster Farm with 4 acres; Michael Ward, Mattapoisett Oysters for 3 acres; and Nicholas Wright, 1 acre.
Levitt gave a brief update on his holdings, saying things have been a challenge between weather battering boats, and the presence of heavy predation on the oysters by snails. He said some 4,000 oysters have been grown in his cages and donated to the town for the municipality’s program. Promised survey work of the large aquaculture site has been delayed, Levitt said, as has experimental kelp farming. Both activities he hopes to start in the coming months.
COVID-19 and the current status of cases in the community was touched upon. Lorenco said that presently there are 30 cases, “the highest number yet.” He said that the town follows the guidelines of the state, not the CDC, and as such, masks are not mandated except in healthcare settings.
Lorenco said that the majority of the people coming into town hall are wearing masks. But Bauer wanted to discuss options, saying, “People say, ‘I’ve had three shots, I don’t need to wear a mask,’ and that’s wrong.” It was noted that 90 percent of all Mattapoisett residents have received vaccines. Lorenco was asked to check with the Council on Aging to ensure masks are being worn at that location.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Select Board is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, at 6:30 pm.
Mattapoisett Select Board
By Marilou Newell