March 25, 2011

All clear for work to begin on Route 28

With construction ready to begin the fate of the
Pinkerton Tavern building still undecided.
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- With all major land agreements out of the way, town officials say the widening of Route 28/Manchester Road could begin by August.
“We’re really pleased to see this moving along,” said Derry Public Works Director Mike Fowler on Thursday. “Sometimes you muddle along on a project and it doesn’t seem like it’s making any substantial progress, but then all of a sudden in the last 30 to 40 days a lot of things have fallen into place.”

Town officials are scheduled to close today on the Pinkerton Tavern property at 13 Manchester Road in a “friendly agreement” between the town and property owner Arnold Goldstein of Bedford, said Fowler. 
For $722,500, the town will acquire both the parcel and its existing building. 
Earlier negotiations had stalled after Goldstein pushed for an amount closer to a 2008 assessed value of $910,000. A more recent town appraisal of the property put the value at $700,000. Goldstein sought his own reappraisal, which came in at $745,000. 
“Mine was somewhat better than the town’s, so we struck a bargain in between,” said Goldstein. “I guess you have to compromise sometimes, and I’m going to accept it because I don’t want to go to the trouble of appealing it.” 

The owners of the Pinkerton Tavern restaurant were also paid $305,000 by the town to vacate the premises by March 15. 
Fowler said the town has secured agreements for pieces of 14 other properties within the widening zone, though there is some final paperwork to be completed. 
In total, the town will spend about $1.3 million on land acquisition associated with the widening, less than the anticipated $1.8 million, he said. 
Coupled with a favorable construction market, Fowler said, the project could end up more than a million dollars under budget. 
Originally, the town had planned on $6.5 million for the project to be covered by a fund balance and a bond of up to $5.8 million. Now, Fowler said, the total project will likely cost about $5.3 million. 
Walmart will pay about an 8 percent “fair share” portion of the project, which Fowler said now sits at about $424,000. The state is also expected to reimburse about $700,000 of the total costs, he said. Down the line, Fowler said, the goal is that TIF District revenues will cover the bond repayment. 
“Things have worked out favorably for the town and the general point is that we’re really close to getting a start,” he said. 
Fowler said he hopes to put construction out to bid in May and to begin relocating utilities shortly thereafter. The state will also still need to complete a final review of the project, he said. 
Actual construction work should begin by August, he said. 
The project will move in phases, he said, working on one side of the road at a time. At least two lanes of traffic will remain open throughout the project. 
Construction will continue until about Thanksgiving, he said, and then resume again in April 2012 for final overlay work. By July 2012, Fowler said, the entire project should be complete. 
But the future of the Pinkerton Tavern building that lies in the middle of the widening zone is less defined. 
Fowler said the town will likely send out requests for proposals to see if anyone is interested in purchasing the building as a whole or dismantled into pieces. In the worst-case scenario, he said, the building would be torn down. 
“Obviously we want to keep the building intact as opposed to doing a complete demolish job,” he said. “If somebody out there has a use for the building, certainly they could take it if the price is right. But otherwise we obviously have to look at some alternatives.” 
Fowler said he expects to begin soliciting proposals as early as next week. 

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