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Snowbanks, snow melt conspire to chew holes in city streets

LACONIA — City Public Works crews have spent the last three days patching potholes on Union Avenue, between Gilford Avenue and Messer Street, and the length of Court Street, which were lined with cones and barricades last week, Public Works Director Paul Moynihan said yesterday. However, with wintry conditions lingering, he feared the work may prove "a losing battle" with the traffic and the elements.

Moynihan explained that with the frequent storms the snowbanks have reached into the travel lanes, covering the storm drains and catch basins. Moreover, on both Union Avenue and Court Street the travel lanes are rutted and the pavement weakened. With drainage impeded by snowbanks, water collects in the rutted travel lanes then washes toward the curb and seeps into the compromised pavement to undermine the surface, a process exacerbated by the recent cycle of freezing and thawing.

Moynihan said that many of the potholes are on the shoulders of the roadway, which are especially weak. The drivers of the trash trucks, which normally ride on the shoulders, have been asked to stay nearer the travel lane.

Moynihan said that while the department encounters these conditions every year in February and March, the sheer volume of snow and age of the streets has made this winter particularly challenging. He said that the stretch of Union Avenue was last rebuilt in 1991 and Court Street in 1996.

Since there will be no hot asphalt until April, crews are limited to applying a cold mix. At the same time, Moynihan said that he hopes there will be time and resources to remove the snow lining the roads to reduce the volume of melted snow on the roads.

Meanwhile, Moynihan said that work to reconstruct Union Avenue from Gilford Avenue to Messer Street is scheduled to begin next month. "It should be better next winter," he remarked. But, he said it would be at least "a year or two" before significant improvements were made to Court Street. "We can't do both with the funds we have available," he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 12:51

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Bahre estate offered for $49-million

ALTON — In what the listing agent calls "the most significant offering ever to come to market in New Hampshire," Longview on Lake Winnipesaukee, the estate at Clay Point owned by the Bahre family, is for sale. Landvest, an affiliate of Christie's, lists the property for $49 million.

Bob Bahre, who rescued the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine in the 1960s, parlayed his investments in auto racing, banking and real estate into purchasing Bryar Motorsports Park in Loudon in 1989, which a year later opened as the New Hampshire International Speedway. In 2008 Bahre sold the track to Bruton Smith of Speedway Motorsports for $340 million in a cash deal.

The property of 16.56 acres with 1,594 feet of shoreline includes two homes on separate lots — built between 2000 and 2003 — which together provide some 63,000 square feet of living space, and a post and beam "entertainment barn" of 7,655 square feet, with a catering kitchen and two-bedroom apartment. In addition, the gated estate, reached by a long, winding drive-through verdant grounds, features a tea house and two boathouses, along with an amphitheater, tennis court, helicopter pad, pool and grotto.

The main residence of 38,000 square feet on 9.48 acres with 733 feet of waterfront counts seven bedrooms 16 baths and 15 fireplaces together with two four-car garages, each topped by a one-bedroom apartment with kitchen and bath. Along with a two-story ballroom, formal dining room and living rooms, the home houses a pub, billiards room, library, gym and theater.

With 24,833 square feet of living space, the second, smaller home on 7.08 acres with 861 feet of shorefront provides four bedroom suites, nine baths and eight fireplaces along with a living room, music room, family room and theater, all of which face the lake. The paneled library leads to an infinity pool and grotto.

While the entire estate is for sale, its two parts are also offered separately, the larger for $25 million and the smaller for $24 million. The town assessed the larger parcel at $11,462,300 and the smaller at $7,518, 200.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:06

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Two young Gilford men arraigned on burglary charges

GILFORD — Police have charged a local man with two counts of burglary for allegedly entering homes on Escarole Lane in December of 2013 and Longridge Drive on February 4.

Christian St. Cyr, 21, of Oxbow Lane appeared by video yesterday and was ordered held on $1,500 personal recognizance bail and $2,500 cash and corporate surety bail.

A second man, Kelsey Hron, 21, of Oxbow Lane, was charged with criminal liability for the conduct of another for allegedly trying to sell an Benevolent Order of Elks pendant to an unnamed person.

At the request of the Gilford prosecutor, the affidavits were sealed by the court.

Gilford Police said the investigation is ongoing.

The arraignment was held yesterday morning in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division through the video system with a judge at a remote location.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 February 2014 01:51

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Kimball Castle forum postponed to April 9 to give group time to explore purchase

GILFORD — Selectmen have postponed a public forum for townspeople to discuss the future of Kimball Castle until April 9 in order to give the the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee time to work with New Hampshire Preservation Alliance to see if the property can be purchased using state and federal preservation money.

The public forum about the future of the controversial castle and the 20 acres surrounding it was scheduled for next week.

According to the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee Chair Sandra McGonagle, the idea is to purchase the property from the current owner — David Jodin doing business as Kimball Castle Properties LLC — using preservation money and private donations.

McGonagle said they Wildlife Forestry Committee has obtained the services of a private appraiser with the goal of setting an independent price for the property and getting the current owner to agree to sell it to the committee for that price.

In March of 2013, the town's building inspector determined the structure was unsafe and ordered the owner to either put a fence up or demolish it. The owner wants to demolish the castle and sell the property for use as a single family residence.

The selectmen, acting in their capacity as trustees of the Kimball Wildlife Trust, voted unanimously to allow the owner to have the private structure removed.

Should the sale effort be successful, McGonagle said the hope would be to incorporate some of the 20 acres back into the 280 acres already managed by the Wildlife Forestry Committee and put a fence around the castle to stop people from entering the immediate area.

She said the castle would be allowed to decay naturally.

McGonagle said she appreciates the position the selectmen are in regarding the town's potential liability should anyone be hurt in or at the castle. She also said she fully appreciates the owner's desire to sell the property.

She added that she also thinks it is financially unrealistic to expect to restore the castle.

Kimball Castle, said McGonagle, has been placed on the "seven to save" list in New Hampshire and in 1982 the castle was given a spot on the National Register.

She said she is hopeful that the combination of the two designations is enough to earn them a preservation grant in the event the owner elects to sell it at the independently appraised price.

Kimball Castle was built on Lockes Hill in 1895 by Concord and Montreal Railroad President Benjamin Ames Kimball.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 February 2014 01:45

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