LACONIA — When Robert DeCotis, who has spent summers on Margin Avenue at the Weirs for the past three decades, read that South End street Cleveland Place, then Chapin Terrace in Lakeport, were being rebuilt he wrote to The Daily Sun "wondering if any of us on Margin Avenue will live long enough to see a normal, paved street with adequate drainage here."
Margin Avenue runs for approximately 100 yards between the railroad track and Centenary Avenue, just north of the bridge that carries Foster Avenue over the railway, and intersects Centenary Avenue at both ends. It is a narrow, dirt road, paved only at its northern corner where it joins Centenary Avenue, and has no storm drains. Ten homes front the west side of the street and an equal number fronting on Centenary Avenue back on to the east side of the street.
"Everybody has got water in their cellars, everybody," De Cotis said this week. "It is an ongoing problem." Many residents, he noted, have pumps to clear their basements. He explained that because the ground slopes toward the lake, stormwater is carried across the properties to Centenary Avenue, where there are storm drains. At the north end of Margin Avenue, stormwater is undermining the pavement and washing soil into the intersection with Centenary Avenue.
Margin Avenue is also riddled with potholes, which turn to mud after a rain then, when cars pass by, splatter the sides of the houses built close to the road. DeCotis said that to keep from tracking mud into the house he first built a deck then paved the driveway, but confessed "nothing works."
DeCotis said that Centenary Avenue, along with some of the side streets leading to the lake, have been improved in recent years, but he cannot recall anything being done to address the condition of Margin Avenue in the last 30 years.
Paul Moynihan, director of Public Works, said that Margin Avenue is one of a number of gravel roads, which together account for about five miles of city streets. As a gravel road. he noted that it is not part of the pavement management plan. However, he said that "we are aware of it" and added that '"Margin is one of the gravel roads that really should be paved."
Moynihan recalled that 20 years ago most of the streets in that section of The Weirs, including what he called the "cat alleys" — Allen, Mooris, Thompson, Jane's and Haven Avenues — between Centenary Avenue and the lake, were graveled, but have since been paved. "Margin Avenue stands alone," he said, "and I don't feel good about that."
Without a design for the drainage plan, Moynihan said it was difficult to estimate the cost of the project, but remarked "it's not a $20,000 job" and guessed it could cost between $75,000 and $100,000 to pave the road and install the drainage.