City garage repairs cost almost $102,000

LACONIA — The cost of the emergency repairs required to reopen the downtown parking garage in October was $101,941.78 — $71,848.12 for the contractor, R.M. Piper Inc. and $30,093.66 for the engineer, Dubois & King Inc.
City Manager Scott Myers explained that $40,000 budgeted for repairs to the garage and several carry-forwards from prior years totaled $57,495, which together with a balance of $5,022.29 from a bond issued in 2006 to repair the garage, amounted to $65,516.78.
The council agreed to transfer $39,425 from a $100,000 surplus in the Worker’s Compensation budget to meet the shortfall.
— Michael Kitch

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Laconia, Gilford girls meet again in Holiday Tournament final - Winnisquam boys roll over Laconia in semi, reach title game


GILFORD — The girls’ final in the 42nd annual Holiday Basketball tournament will be a rematch of crosstown rivals Laconia and Gilford. It could also be a playoff finals preview.
The Sachems and Bears, both 5-0 in the regular season, are two of Division III’s best teams and will face off Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Gilford High School. The boys’ final will pit Winnisquam against either Kingswood or Gilford at 6 p.m.
“Last year was a blast. I expect nothing less this year,” said Sachems coach Jeff Greeley. Laconia beat Gilford in last year’s tourney.
“We had four very good games with Laconia. They beat us by three in the tournament,” said Golden Eagles coach Rick Forge. “But we beat them twice in the regular season and in the playoffs.”
Laconia reached the final with a 69-34 win over Winnisquam. The Sachems turned up the defensive pressure in the second half to force the Bears into turnovers and then scored points in transition.
“We talked all year long about the defense being the catalyst to get us going,” said Sachems coach Jeff Greeley. “Our main focus is to start defensively and cause some things to happen that give us easy buckets.”
Helen Tautkus, normally a starter for Laconia, came off the bench this game to jump start her team.  
“I thought she did a great job at just giving us a spark off the bench,” said Greeley who said his team had lacked energy at times in other games. “And she definitely did that in the third quarter.”
Tautkus scored 7 of her 17 points in the third. Kailey Nute led all scorers with 21 and Calyce Swormstedt dropped in 16.
In the second semi, Brooke Beaudet’s 27 points paced Gilford to a 67-37 victory over Newfound. Beaudet hit six three-point shots. “We’ve been fortunate and the kids have really stepped up this year. They’re playing some good ball,” said Forge.
Forge watched Laconia press Winnisquam but feels his squad will be ready to take on the Sachem’s defensive pressure.
“They run the court very well. We match up with speed with them. I expect it will be the same type of game as last year, coming down to the fourth quarter, the team that makes the fewest mistakes,” said Forge.
Ashlee Duquette led Newfound with 10 points.
Things didn’t go as well for the Sachem boys (3-0) as they fell 90-61 to 4-0 Winnisquam; a surprising result considering both teams are undefeated in the regular season.
Laconia couldn’t keep up with the Bears who were led by Christian Serrano with 26 points. Mike Lowery had 14 with four three-pointers and Tim Harmon added 13. Andre McNeil led the Sachems with 17.
Girls consolation: Belmont-31 Propect Mtn-25, Kingswood-45 Moultonborough-33
Boys consolation: Belmont-58 Propect Mtn-49, Newfound-52 Moultonborough-31
Kingswood vs. Gilford boys game did not finish by deadline.

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No quick fixes for city parking garage issues

LACONIA — “There will be no decision tonight and I don’t foresee a decision for foresee a decision for weeks,” said City Manager Scott Myers when the Land and Buildings Committee of the City Council met last night to weigh the future of the downtown parking garage.
Myers explained that Genesis Behavioral Health, which is seeking to purchase the privately owned portion of the garage and the commercial units beneath it, will not proceed without the city’s assurance that it will repair the facility. And the $5.5 million bond issued by the New Hampshire Health and Educational Facilities Authority to fund the purchase and renovation of the property expires in May 2016.
Meanwhile, Downtown Crossing LLC, which owns the private section of the garage. is eager to proceed with the sale. Paul and Dan Disangro, which were awarded the property in a settlement reached in 2009. The Disangros were partners of Steven Borghi of Alton when his plans to open a Work Out World franchise foundered under heavy debt, along with charges of misappropriation of funds and deceptive trade practices.
Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5), who chairs the committee, said that Dubis & King Inc., the engineering firm that assessed the condition of the garage, is “fine tuning” its estimate of the cost of the necessary repairs. Initially, the cost of repairing the ramps and decks to extend the life of the facility another 30 or 40 years was pegged at $1.2 million.
However, the condition of sections of the garage covered by a fire suppression material remain to be assessed. Paul Moynihan, director of the public works, told the committee employees of the department could remove the material at less cost than a private contractor.
At the same time, the cost of repairs to the privately owned portion of the garage, which represents about 20 percent of the 228 spaces, also remains to be estimated. Myers suggested, based on the estimate for the public section, the cost would approximate $300,000.
This brought the discussion full circle. Just as the sale of the private portion will not proceed without an assurance from the city to repairs its share of the facility, Myers said that the city will not undertake the repairs without the cooperation of the private owners. He indicated that cooperation could take the form of an agreement between the city and the private owner to proceed to repair and maintain their portions of the facility or to transfer ownership of the garage to one party.
When the City Council discussed the issue earlier this month Maggie Pritchard, executive director of Genesis, flatly rejected offers to acquire the city’s share of the garage for $1.
Apart from refining the cost of repairs, Myers said that he is also exploring the feasibility of constructing an exterior staircase and installing an elevator in place of the north stairwell. These improvements to the facility were proposed by a number of downtown property and business owners, who emphasized the importance of the both the parking garage and relocation of Genesis to the economy of downtown.

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