Barre approves running electricity to Town Park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 August 2022 at 9:12 am

National Grid will put in electric for $15K

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Barre Town Park on Route 98 will soon have electric running back to the playground area, a pavilion and a new storage building. The Town Board also voted on Wednesday evening to remove the shrubbery in front of the sign and do new plantings in the spring.

BARRE – The Town Board on Wednesday approved paying National Grid $15,331 to put in electrical service for the Town Park on Route 98.

The town will use some of its allotment from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to cover the expense. Barre has been approved for $210,000 in ARPA funding.

The decision to put in the electrical service was tabled last month when three of the board members – Kerri Richardson, George McKenna and Dave Waters – wanted to see a breakdown of the costs for the service and a plan for the park.

The town highway department has already put in conduit and a pull box for the service, using about $14,000 raised from the Barre Betterment Committee to “Power the Park.”

Town Supervisor Sean Pogue said he would have the Betterment Committee and Town Park’s Committee discuss their goals for the park in the short and long term. But, for now, he said he wanted to get the electric line back into the park.

Councilman Waters agreed that is an important first step.

“I think it’s a positive thing for the park,” Waters said during Wednesday’s board meeting. “We’re going to need it sooner or later. Even if we do the minimum, we need power back there.”

Councilwoman Richardson said there should be a plan for how to better utilize the park, and bring more residents to the site. She said the current approach feels “piece meal.” She agreed the electrical service is needed at the site.

The Barre Betterment Committee has been raising funds for electricity, with a $60,000 goal to “Power the Park.” Councilman McKenna said he wants to hear from the committee about how it determined the $60,000 goal.

With the electrical service coming in at about $15,000 from National Grid, plus the in-kind work from the town highway department, the cost seems to be closer to $30,000.

Pogue said he was at a recent BBC meeting and the group is shifting to raising funds to upgrade playground equipment at the park.

The town and the BBC can discuss longer range plans and goals for the town park with the community, Pogue said.

That could include having lighted fields, but Pogue said “that’s down the road” and would need input from nearby residents.