The Friends of Belgrade Lakes Village have raised more than $556,000 to enhance the state road reconstruction project planned for a half-mile of Main Street, a project slated for a final public hearing Wednesday.

Diane Oliver, representing the board of directors of the Friends group, updated Belgrade selectmen at their regular meeting Tuesday, indicating the group received $305,000 from grants and foundations, $122,999 in cash, $83,450 in outstanding pledges and $3,100 through a Gofundme page; and it has asked for $41,500 from the town’s municipal account. That money was set aside to match a state transportation grant, but the town did not receive the grant.

The group has worked to raise money to install pedestrian lighting and upgraded sidewalks that will be installed as part of the planned 2018 project.

The Department of Transportation has scheduled a final public hearing on the Route 27 reconstruction project for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Center for All Seasons.

Ernie Martin, the state’s project manager, said it will encompass a presentation to property owners that indicates any effects on their parcels.

“We take this design to the public to see if we missed something,” he said.

The presentation will include information about the design, rights of way, tree law, stormwater treatment practices, details about the timeline, and a question-and-answer period.

The project has been planned for years and raised concern among business owners about how it will affect sales. Several merchants suggested suspending any roadwork during the height of the summer tourist season — Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Some business owners also voiced opposition to having roadwork done at night.

Martin said the timing of the work itself would be addressed at Wednesday’s meeting.

It is one of the last remaining sections of Route 27 to be worked on and has proved particularly sensitive because it is the only road along a narrow isthmus between Great and Long ponds.

“I am pretty confident will this will be one construction season,” Martin said. “It’s 0.46 miles, less than half a mile, and pretty self-contained.”

He said the design of the project is complete and will include 83 parking spaces — 54 on the west side of the road and 29 on the east.

Crosswalk locations are designated, and the sidewalk, which runs on the east side, has been extended to the south to the new bakery near the intersection with West Road.

The state has estimated the total project cost at just under $2.7 million, including preliminary engineering, right-of-way, construction and inspection work.

“I think we’re in good shape,” Martin said. “I think we’ve had plenty of good dialogue.”

Martin said some concerns remain about locations of septic systems, some of which are in the right of way. Some residents spoke with Martin about that at an informal informational meeting in August.

Martin also said the road reconstruction will include catch basins that will treat stormwater so it’s cleaner when it flows into Great Pond or Long Pond.

Some trees will be removed along the road largely because utility poles are being relocated to the east side of the street. Pedestrian lighting will be installed along the west side.

Martin said some property owners have come forward requesting that their trees be cut, and the state will do so.

Landscaping will add some trees later.

Martin also said part of the meeting will involve checking to ensure that the town has the funding available for the sidewalks and lighting.

While the sidewalk lighting style was chosen some time ago, the sidewalk type is still under discussion.

The Friends group originally had talked of having brick sidewalks, but selectmen recently discussed trying to dissuade them from making that choice and instead suggesting asphalt or cement with pressed veneer to avoid maintenance problems. The board has been adamant about not spending taxpayer money for any extras.

Diane Oliver, a member of the Friends group’s board of directors, said Friday that sidewalk materials had yet to be chosen.

“We’ve been working extremely hard just to get the fundraising done,” Oliver said, adding that that process can begin now.

“I think we’ve always said ‘upgraded sidewalks,’ anything better than just the asphalt, which is what they would do,” she said.

Oliver said the group will take into account what its contributors have said as well as what members have been hearing from selectmen and other sources.

She said the group budgeted for the highest cost, which would be the brick sidewalks, but would be considering various styles of upgrades.

A memo submitted to selectmen on Tuesday by Oliver on behalf of the Friends group also noted that the initial $556,049 raised “is phase one of a $1.5 million campaign that also includes an off-street parking lot and public restrooms.”

The group said contributions came from “generous summer residents as well as year-round residents, not only from Belgrade, but from surrounding communities like Rome and Oakland.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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