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Potential Mills Pond Park Improvements on Canton Selectmen's Wednesday Agenda

Officials consider upgrades for state grant application.

Wednesday the Board of Selectmen will continue discussing potential improvements to Mills Pond Park. 

Specifically selectmen will further ponder whether to seek a state Small Town Assistance Program grant in hopes of upgrading several park features. 

In October of 2013, selectmen discussed the idea of a Mills Pond Park package for the grant application, which funds as much as $500,000 for capital improvement projects. 

It's an area of funding that been requested by the Parks and Recreation Commission. 

"It's due for some funding," said Parks and Recreation Director Brian Wilson said. 

On Monday, Wilson said the town now has much better numbers since selectmen discussed the issue in October. 

Those latest numbers estimates are: 
  • Refurbishment of pool house building - $370,000  
  • Resurfacing and crack repair to 4 tennis courts and 2 basketball courts - $26,000  
  • Total renovation of skatepark including installation of concrete elements - $90,000 
  • Park Planning and Master Plan Design Services - $14,000
The pool house is the big ticket and would include items such as combining exterior bathrooms to one family room, addressing code issues, and new light fixtures, building fascia, counter spaces, flooring and much more. While the town does not yet have designs for the pool house, it has talked to Millennium Builders, which believes it can have some ready prior to the application.

Since the town did not receive funding last year for the hydro-project, officials said they have learned it is better to propose projects that are "shovel ready." 

The court resurfacing should be done every five to seven years and it's been about the latter, Wilson said. 

For the skate park, Wilson said concrete components are often used for their attributes and durability. 

"It's kind of seen as more of a natural, cityscape feeling," he said. 

Wilson said the commission also feels strongly that the park has much greater potential and that project should include a future planning element.

In a memo included in this week's meeting packet Wilson wrote, "Because of the proximity to the Canton High School, Millennium Fields, Canton Intermediate School, and Farmington River Trail, Mills Pond Park is a focal point of the community and in the opinion of the Parks and Recreation Commission as well as myself, lacks a long-range plan."

While a few other projects have been suggested for possible STEAP funding, First Selectman Richard Barlow said he likes the idea of taking an existing town asset and improving it. 

"It will be nice to take something we have and bring it to a top-notch condition," he said. 

In October several selectmen spoke favorably of the idea and asked town officials to come back with these more refined estimates. On Wednesday selectmen will continue the discussion. 

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Canton Community Center. See the entire agenda and more details on the park idea at http://townofcantonct.org/filestorage/6662/7004/7012/17872/01.08.14_BOS_Packet.pdf

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