WATERVILLE — Summit Natural Gas is building the backbone of a pipeline system in the city that ultimately will connect with residential customers based on neighborhood demands, according to a company official.
Mike Duguay, Summit’s director of business development, is scheduled to update city councilors and residents Tuesday on the company’s plans to install pipes in the city this year.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at The Center at 93 Main St. downtown. It will be preceded by an executive session at 6:45 p.m. to discuss real estate negotiations.
Duguay said Monday that some homes will get connected to natural gas this year, but it’s too early to tell exactly what streets will be targeted. Now, Summit representatives are going door-to-door to talk to homeowners and assess demand in neighborhoods, he said.
“The good news about Waterville is that it is a very dense community,” he said.
Major pipe has been laid on West River Road and Webb Road and on Collette Street and Kennedy Memorial Drive, where Inland Hospital already is a customer, according to Duguay. Preparations have been made to connect to First Rangeway and then Mayflower Hill Drive, which runs into Gilman Street. Summit also plans to build the grid to Cool Street and Western Avenue.
Duguay said the plan is to connect to Elm Street, lower College Avenue and Main Street. The backbone also would go from Elm to Spring and Bridge streets and connect with Hathaway Creative Center on Water Street to the south. Summer Street also would be part of the larger grid.
Pipe has been laid on northern College Avenue and connects to Armory Road and upper Main, he said.
“Everyone always asks, âFrom there, where is it going and when, and in what neighborhoods?'” he said. “The reality is, right now, as the backbone allows us to access as many of the neighborhoods in the community.”
He said the plan is to provide natural gas to 80 percent of the city. Larger pipes are 4 and 8 inches; pipes going to homes would be 2 inches, he said.
City Manager Michael Roy said Monday that he estimates the natural gas discussion will start between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. City officials last heard an update on the natural gas schedule in January, according to Roy.
Roy said he wonders whether pipe will connect to Silver and Elm streets from Kennedy Memorial Drive or if pipe would be extended to Silver and Elm from Pleasant Street.
“I think a big, big, big piece of this is the stream crossings,” he said. “They can’t get to the downtown without crossing Messalonskee Stream. I know that any stream or river crossing is a huge barrier, as are railroad crossings — very, very problematic — so you can’t get to the downtown unless you cross Messalonskee Stream at the beginning of Silver Street or KMD or cross Messalonskee Stream near Gilman Street.”
In other matters Tuesday, councilors will consider an amendment to the city’s ordinance dealing with streets and sidewalks that would increase fees for road opening permits. The fees are based on size of area that is disturbed, according to Roy.
Councilors also will consider selling properties at 10 Temple Court and 330 Trafton Road, both of which the city foreclosed on for nonpayment of taxes.
Roy said the Temple Court property is a rough, unfinished building behind the former Al Corey store building on Main Street downtown that was used for cold storage.
The Trafton Road property is a home and councilors may consider selling it back to its former owner or put it on the market, Roy said.
Roy will also update councilors on a plan to help solve a parking problem that occurs downtown when the farmers market is open on The Concourse on Thursdays. The problem is that people park all day in front of businesses including The Villager, Cardsmart and Yardgoods Center on Thursdays, according to Roy.
The city plans to place stars in some parking spaces, designating all day parking, but will enforce a two-hour parking limit for the other spaces, he said.
“I think it’s a reasonable compromise,” he said.
The farmers market opens Thursday for the season at the northeastern corner of The Concourse along Appleton and Main streets.