Irrigation system at Memorial Park baseball field included in FY '16 budget

LACONIA — Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities, yesterday described Memorial Field in the South End as "a rising priority", in response to a letter in The Daily Sun from Earl Beale, adjutant of Wilkins-Smith Post 1 of the American Legion charging that the baseball diamond at the park "used to be the jewel of parks in Laconia, but is being let fall apart."

"It's not in great condition," Dunleavy conceded.

He went on to explain that the park has lacked an automated irrigation system, without which it has been both costly and difficult to maintain the playing field. However, while the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee ranked Dunleavy's request for an irrigation system 37th among its priorities last fall, City Manager Scott Myers has included an appropriation of $28,000 for purchasing and installing the system in the 2015-2016 budget that the City Council is expected to adopt next week. 

Last year $14,000 was appropriated to replace the bleachers at the baseball field. Dunleavy said that new bleachers will be installed in the coming weeks. The bleachers themselves have arrived and a contractor has been engaged to pour the concrete pad.

In addition, another $25,000 was spent last year resurfacing and relining the five tennis courts at Memorial Park. Although the city has no plans to rebuild the old press box that was taken down, Dunleavy said that he has been approached by representatives of both the American Legion Baseball and Armand J. Laramie Babe Ruth League about having volunteers construct a new press box.

The diamond at Memorial Park is home to the Laconia Middle School baseball team in the spring and American Legion and Babe Ruth teams in the summer. In August Laconia Youth Football practices in the outfield of the baseball field. The high school varsity plays its game at Robbie Mills Field, which also home to the Laconia Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

Dunleavy said that Memorial Field has a special character and appealing atmosphere because it is with walking and cycling distance of so many of the players and their families. The Parks and Recreation Commission, he continued, recognizes the significance of the playing field and considers its improvement a priority.

$90k short: Gilford learns communications center was not properly budgeted for in police station project

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to spend $154,920 to purchase two new dispatch consoles for the police station expansion project — putting the project $90,000 over budget.

Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee told selectmen that the amount of money in the $169,000 federal grant to build a communications center and pay for two dispatch consoles is about $90,000 less than it will take to complete the project

Bean Burpee said he met with Ossipee Mountain Electric recently and learned that replacing the two old dispatch consoles with two new ones will cost $154,940. The amount of the grant that can be used for the new dispatch center is $64,280.

Saying the architect "grossly underestimated" the cost of the dispatch center, Bean Burpee came to selectmen to learn how he should proceed.

The new police station was passed at the March 2014 annual town meeting at a price tag of $1.2 million that included the $169,000 federal project. There was a delay in the start date of the construction because the initial bids were far greater than the approved amounts but after negotiations with the lowest bidder one was accepted.

Construction began in April but was delayed when the contractors had to remove additional amounts of ledge at an additional cost of $17,511. Because of the terms of the federal grant, obtained through the state from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, funds must be spent by September 30 or the end of the federal fiscal year.

Bean Burpee said the furniture had been pre-ordered but he and representatives from Ossipee Mountain have just finished the bid specifics for the dispatch center. He said the department needs two consoles because of Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook, the Timberman Triathlon, and other events as well as for emergencies. He also said the two existing consoles are outdated and difficult to find parts for. He said the department can't buy one new one and use one old one because the technology can't be integrated.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the consoles could be leased and paid for from next year's budget or they could try to find the money in this year's town spending plan. He also said they could petition the N.H. Department of Revenue to use money from the existing surplus but warned selectmen that it's very difficult to get the special dispensation for an emergency.

Selectman Chan Eddy said staying with the old equipment is "buying trouble" and supported getting it done this year as did Selectman Richard Grenier, who noted that he felt they were letting down the voters who gave the town permission to spend $1.2 million and not more.

Chair Gus Benavides said he would support getting it done this year but would not support petitioning the state for using the existing surplus.

Aavid donation of $5,000 goes to Child Advocacy Center in Laconia

LACONIA — The Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center (GLCAC) is one of the recipients of a donation made to the city by Aavid Thermalloy LLC and the company's president and CEO, Alan W. Wong.

The GLCAC recently moved to more spacious quarters at 95 Water Street in Laconia and the funds will be used to help renovate that new space. A community open house will be hosted by the center in September.

Aavid and Wong made the donations in honor of the Laconia-based advanced manufacturing company's 50th Anniversary. Mayor Ed Engler was asked to distribute a total of $20,000 in donations to non-profit organizations of his choosing within the Lakes Region and he directed $5,000 to the GLCAC.

The GLCAC coordinates child abuse investigations within a multi-disciplinary team approach. Professionals from law enforcement, child protective services, victim advocacy, the GLCAC, the Belknap County Attorney's Office, and medical/mental health professionals join together at the Child Advocacy Center to investigate child abuse and provide best practice care to children and their families. Children are interviewed by one person in a child-friendly, neutral environment by trained Child Advocacy Center staff. The child and family receive on-site support services and referrals to appropriate community resources.

Hand-prints line the Child Advocacy Center wall of the children that visit the center, celebrating the strength and courage of these amazing children. The GLCAC also provides community outreach and education.

The GLCAC is a non-profit serving Belknap County that relies on grants, fundraising and community support to provide critical services to children.
The new site of the Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center will provide further community collaboration by adding additional space for community trainings/meetings; a teen waiting room, that is age appropriate for adolescent/teen population; and increased accessibility for families and community partners.

For more information, please visit or call 524-5497.

Aavid Thermalloy designs and manufactures a wide range of thermal management products, from the smallest circuitboard-level cooling solution to several thousand kilowatt industrial applications. It's products are used in personal computing systems such as desktops, laptops and video game consoles in addition to non-PC products like servers, network devices, instrumentation, transportation and other consumer electronics. The company has manufacturing facilities in Italy, India and China, in addition to Laconia.


CAPTION: Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center Program Director Meghan Noyes accepts a $5,000 donation from Aavid Thermalloy LLC via Laconia Mayor Engler at the non-profit agency's new quarters at 95 Water Street in Laconia. (Laconia Daily Sun photo)