Gilford Village Knolls III ready for site plan review Monday


GILFORD — After many years of looking for a site and an investor, the Gilford Village Knolls III project is ready for site plan review from the town's Planning Board.

The proposed Village Knolls III, which is a 24-unit low-income senior housing project at 43 Potter Hill Road, site plan application will be heard Monday at 7 p.m. by the Gilford Planning Board.

The Village Knolls III is the third of three planned senior affordable housing units in Gilford Village. Both Village Knolls I and II were completed by the late 1980s with Knoll I located at land belonging to the late Milo "Red" Bacon's home and Knolls II on property on Potter Hill Road that abuts Bacon Avenue.

The property for Village Knolls III belonged to the town of Gilford and was sold in 2004 by Bacon as a site for the proposed new library. A capital reserve fund provided $100,000, and $40,000 came from private donations.

While voters at Town Meeting said yes to buying the land, they rejected a $2.25 million bond to build a new library. SB-2 in Gilford went into effect in 2005 and voters again rejected a bond for a new library.

In 2006, Richard and Betty Persons offered to give the town $3 million to build a library 41 Potter Hill Road.

The library was built in 2007 and the Friends of the Gilford Library (a not-for-profit fundraising arm separate from the library) asked the town for $110,000 with the appropriation to be funded only if the town could sell the lot at 43 Potter Hill Road.

In 2008, selectmen agreed to sell the lot to the Village Knolls for $150,000 but a few members of the Budget Committee mounted a petition to stop the sale because they didn't want Gilford to have any additional low-income property. The Village Knolls withdrew its offer.

When selectmen later tried to sell the property at 43 Potter Hill Road for $150,000, there were no takers.

By 2009, selectmen asked voters to sell the property to Gilford Village Knolls; however, the amount was reduced to $110,000 at the deliberative session of Town Meeting.

After losing access to all federal and state money in 2010, Village Knolls head Tony Feruello said he would continue to seek the funding, which has apparently come, at least in part, from the Laconia Area Community Land Trust.

According to the Zoning Board application filed earlier this month with the Planning Board, the project has been approved the the Gilford Conservation Committee and a dredge-and-fill application has been filed with the state.

The site will be regraded to lower the high side and raise the low side, which will create 28-space parking lot. A porous pavement walkway is proposed along the edge of the building and other paved walkways will allow access to Village Knolls II and to Potter Hill Road.

Water will be provided by the Gilford Water District and electricity, telephone and cable services will come underground from Potter Hill Road. The building will get fire sprinklers and the water for this will come from a buried concrete cistern uphill from the building.

The site, according to the application, has been approved by the Historic District and Heritage Commission and is being undertaken by the Laconia Area Community Land Trust using at least some federal funding. No construction start date is known at this time.

Where the buffalo roam: Bolduc Farm has herd for 28 years


GILFORD — The buffalo herd at Bolduc Farm now has 20 of the magnificent creatures roaming its fields on Morrill Street, Armand Bolduc, including seven young calves who were born last year.
"We've had a herd for 28 years now," he said.

The first to arrive came after wildfires in the summer of 1988 displaced many of the buffalo from Yellowstone National Park.
The buffalo were brought to the farm by his late brother Hector, who was the priest at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, across the street from the farm. Hector had purchased the former dairy farm from his parents in the early 1970s.
Bolduc recalls the day he first buffalo arrived.

"One day we were told to expect a delivery. Well, about 9 o'clock at night, an Indian turns up with a cattle trailer saying he was making a delivery. When I asked him what he had in there, he said 'I'm not supposed to tell you what's in there.' So I went to have a look," Bolduc continued, "and he shouts 'Don't open that door!' It was a pair of buffalo. That was a surprise."
Bolduc has had a few adventures with the herd over the years.

"They got loose in snow storm and were walking down Morrill Street, over the bypass to Gilford Village," he said. "I got a bucket of grain and when they saw that they turned around and started galloping after me. You just have to stay far enough ahead of them."

Another time, Big Jack, the breeding bull, wound up on a neighbor's deck.
Bolduc said buffalo meat is very healthy and provides low-fat, low-cholesterol steaks, roasts, stew meat and hamburger. Last year, two of the herd members were harvested. The young bulls are usually the first to be harvested.
During the summer months, the buffalo move from one pasture to another but require lots of hay and grain during the winter months.
"I feed them about 3 every afternoon, and when they see me open the barn door they know they're going to get some hay so they all start trotting over to the feed area," said Bolduc.

03-03 buffalo 1
The Bolduc Farm in Gilford has been home to a herd of buffalo for 28 years and currently has 20 buffalo in its fields. They are fed hay daily by Armand Bolduc. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Hosmer endorses Connolly for governor

LACONIA — District 7 New Hampshire State Sen. Andrew Hosmer, D-Laconia has endorsed former state Director of Securities Mark Connolly for governor.

Connolly, of New Castle, is a New Hampshire native and former New Hampshire state representative who served for 30 yeas and a business and community leader.

Connolly is running against District 2 Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, whose district includes the Belknap County towns of Barnstead, Gilmanton and Belmont for the Democratic Party nomination in the gubernatorial race.

"Mark's story is about taking on the hard fights and getting results for New Hampshire families," said Hosmer. "Throughout his career in public service and as a business leader, Mark has put politics aside to bring people together and get things done, and I know that's what he'll do as our next governor."

"I am humbled to have Andrew's support. His hard work as a business owner, public servant, and father exemplify what makes New Hampshire great," said Connolly. "Andrew's been a champion for the Lakes Region, and I'm honored to have him join our campaign. We have challenges before us, but Andrew and I, along with thousands of other Granite Staters, believe that our state's best days lie ahead."

– Gail Ober