Belmont recreation trail to be finished at end of July


BELMONT — With the substantial completion date set for July 27, the Belmont Recreation Trail has reached the point where Land Use Technician Rick Ball is almost ready to breathe a sigh of relief.

Fifteen years in the making, this segment of the trail system that runs from the Laconia city line will be 1.6 miles long, 8 feet wide with a 1-foot shoulder on each side, paved, and planted with grass and wildflowers.

And with the Laconia segment from the Belmont town line to the train station set to break ground on July 5, the goal of a 9-mile trail running from Franklin to Meredith is one step closer.

"This will be a nice ride for the Beetles," said WOW Trail Committee Chairman Allan Beetle, who said it is one mile to pedal to Lakeport from his home, 4.5 contiguous miles from Lakeport to Belmont Agway along the trail and the return trip to his home.

Last week, the Belmont Recreational Alternative Trail Team met at the Corner Meeting House and began talking about Phase II, which would connect Belmont at the Winnisquam Bridge to downtown Tilton.

Ball told them there is another pocket of federal money allocated to the state for transportation alternatives trails to be spent over the next five years but said he expects it to be very competitive. He said Belmont's proposed Phase II is in the middle of the Franklin to Meredith and with some planning and engineering, a case could be made for Belmont role for a contiguous trail.

Committee member Donna Hepp said the goal now is to expand the committee membership to get people excited about Phase II. At that meeting, newcomer Dennis Grimes said he would join the board.

Key dates on the upcoming calendar include trail cleanup on Tuesday, June 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring latex gloves and, for those who have them, safety vests for the clean up along Route 3. Board members will bring bags.

BRATT is also planning Show Me Days for July 9 and 10, when members will accompany attendees on hikes and explain the processes that went into making the trail.

A volunteer survey is now available on for people to say what interests them. Hepp said people can fill the survey out online, or print it, fill it out and drop it off at the Land Use Department in Town Hall or at the Recreation Department.

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Belmont Land Use Technician Rick Ball (in orange) and Laconia WOW Trail Chairman Allan Beetle walk around a dump truck while viewing the almost completed Belmont Phase I of the recreational trail. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Residents of Sagamore Road in Gilford want road repairs


GILFORD — It was the road not taken.

And Wednesday night residents from the upper portion of Sagamore Road piled into town hall to complain that their road is not being considered for reconstruction in this summer's construction season.

Led by resident Howard Epstein, the attendees told selectmen that their road was unsafe and down to one paved lane for traffic in one place. He said one resident was nearly run off the road by a emergency vehicle because there was only one paved lane for both of them.

Others said the road should be a priority for safety reasons because it's windy and hilly with very little line of sight in places.

Epstein produced documentation that, as of June 26, 2015, Sagamore Road was scheduled for the 2016-17 season. He also said that every time it rains, a little more of upper Sagamore Road slides down the mountain.

Public Works Director Peter Nourse told the board he would not support changing the long-range five year plan, which has upper Sagamore scheduled to be reconstructed in 2018. After an hour-long unscheduled public hearing, selectmen agreed with him.

Nourse told the board that at the end of the 2015 season, the town was out of money and it paved only the lower portion of Sagamore.

As for upper Sagamore, he said "It is passable for two vehicles but not two vehicles on pavement." He added that some other roads in town that are a higher priority have no pavement left in certain places.

He said he and the Gunstock Acres Water District have been coordinating road construction with pipe construction and, to the best of his knowledge, upper Sagamore Road had relatively few water leaks as compared to other roads in Gunstock acres.

He said decent material must be used to build up upper Sagamore Road and that it will be a significant project planned for 2018. He mentioned the possibility of a shim and overlay but said he's not sure it would last for a significant enough amount of time to justify it.

When questioned, Nourse and selectmen said the process they used to determine which poor roads in a town with lots of poor roads get fixed first is based on multiple variables including traffic, the number of residents that live on it, the town's need to spread the wealth to all sections and whether or not it is a connector road.

When asked by selectmen what road they would sacrifice if it were up to them, most of those who answered said Foxglove Road but at least one said Old Lake Shore Road.

Selectmen asked Nourse to continue on the ongoing road projects like Mountain Road, one-half of Edgewater Drive and Saltmarsh Pond Road and report back to them on if he can project any surplus. At that point the board said it would consider the request.

Board members also told the Sagamore Road residents that potholes and washouts will still be repaired from the maintenance budget.

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Gilford selectmen were confronted by a crowd of people concerned about paving plans for Sagamore Road on Wednesday evening. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)

Complaints about LaconiaFest nonpayments go to police


LACONIA — Police Chief Chris Adams said Thursday that his department is evaluating reports of vendors who claim they were not paid by the organizers of last week's LaconiaFest.

He said police have fielded a few complaints that are being reviewed to determine if there is a criminal or civil component to the claim. All civil complaints have been referred to the state Attorney General's Office.

Adams said he wouldn't call what his department is doing an investigation but said it is acting as a kind of clearing house for the AG if a complaint comes to them.

The fallout from LaconiaFest was generated by a failed attempt to host a nine-day live music festival at the Weirs Beach Drive-In during the Annual Motorcycle Weeks.

Although three shows featuring mostly stars from 1970s and '80s bands drew crowds estimated at between 4,000 and 6,000, the projected ticket sales fell far short of what promoters had expected.

State Commissioner of Labor Jim Craig said his office received three complaints for failure to pay wages but two of them have been withdrawn. He said the department is looking in to the situation.