83 year old gym floor at Laconia Community Center to be replaced

LACONIA — The City Council on Monday night granted the request of Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, to withdraw up to $70,000 from a reserve fund for the maintenance and repair of municipal facilities to replace the hardwood floor of the gymnasium at the Community Center.

Dunleavy said that a reference in the Master Plan of 1991 indicates that the floor dates from 1931, when the armory that became the Community Center was constructed. According to the plan, the floor had been sanded five times and in some sections was "very thin and very spongy," suggesting it would need to be replaced "in the next few years." He said that several times since 2005 the department has requested funding to replace the floor from the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee, most recently last September.

"We are having problems," Dunleavy said, adding "it's not an emergency, but an urgent need." The floor, he continued, was last refinished in 2011 and is scheduled to be refinished again at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000, which he considered would be "throwing good money after bad."

Dunleavy said that he was making the request because the reserve fund has a balance of approximately $180,000, with the likelihood that another $50,000 to $60,000, will be added at the end of the fiscal year. "As far as I know there no other requests for significant funding," he said.

The $70,000, Dunleavy explained, reflected an estimate of $66,000 to lay a mid-grade maple floor over half-inch plywood with five coats of urethane from one firm. He said that if the project is not undertaken in the summer months, when schools typically repair and replace their gymnasium floors, the cost could be $4,000 less. Dunleavy anticipated the job could be completed in two weeks in late April and early May.

The gymnasium hosts 34 different programs with almost 27,000 participants each year and is in use approximately 68 hours during a normal week.

NOTE: The City Council authorized the City Manager to accept a $40,000 federal matching grant to fund the first phase of the Jewett Brook Watershed Management Plan. Luke Powell, assistant director of Public Works, said that the grant, awarded under the Clean Water Act, would meet about 51 percent of the cost of removing barriers, regrading and planting vegetative buffers to restore the floodplain on the property that formerly housed the TD Bank up stream of Union Avenue. Restoration of the floodplain would reduce sedimentation beneath the bridge on Union Avenue and the Normandin Square Apartments, which has contributed to flooding of the Busy Corner intersection. Powell explained that once the floodplain has been restored the city will approach the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services about dredging under the bridge and apartment building. The city will match the grant, with in-kind engineering and construction services worth $38,590, to complete the $78,590 budget for the project. Powell expected the project could be designed this year and completed in 2015.