Workers begin drilling water well at Robbie Mills Sports Complex

07 14 drilling well at Robbie Mills field

A work crew begins drilling a well near Robbie Mills Sports Complex on Thursday in an effort to restore water service to the area since a water main broke in April. (Rick Green/Laconia Daily Sun)



LACONIA — Workers began drilling a well Thursday at the Robbie Mills Sports Complex to bring running water back to the field used by the Winnipesaukee Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

The team has been playing all season without any water to irrigate the grass or allow for use of flush toilets or concessions. They will likely be high and dry for several more days until the new water well system becomes available.

A rainy summer has kept the field green, and portable toilets have been brought in for fans and players.

The team's regular season goes from June 7 to Aug. 1.

Kevin Dunleavy, Laconia’s director of recreation and facilities, said he didn’t have an exact estimate for when water would be restored.

“Gilford Wells started drilling this morning,” he said Thursday. “There is no way to know how long drilling will take. It all depends on how far they need to drill until they hit adequate water. I expect them to be there at least part of tomorrow and possibly for several more days. We could get sufficient yield from the first well or we may need a second well to provide enough water for the facilities’ needs.”

The field at 15 Eastman Road depends on a water tower that is part of the former Laconia State School campus. A water main serving that tower failed in late April.

Rather than make expensive repairs, the state, which is under no obligation to provide water to the city's field, opted to serve its facilities by tying into a water main on Route 106. That roadway is close to the state's property but a good distance from the ball field.

The city's solution was to dig two wells at a total cost of $47,000. The City Council approved the expenditure, but Laconia still needed to get the state to sign off on the plan. The state required another City Council vote, attesting that City Manager Scott Myers is authorized to sign relevant documents.

Also, there was a change in plans on the location of the wells. At first they were to be placed on state land outside the sports complex. Myers said a decision was made to place the wells in the sports complex, as the city has greater control over that land.

Although the sports complex land is owned by the state, it has been leased to the city for 99 years at nominal cost.

  • Written by Rick Green
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City Council makes a mountain out of a sand hill


GILFORD — Laconia City Council members have spent more than 35 minutes at two meetings discussing specific details of moving a 50-foot sand hill sitting on the border of the Laconia Municipal Airport and the Gilford Transfer Station.

They decided Monday they will have to take it up at least one more time before they can finally put the issue to rest.

The airport itself is wholly contained within the boundaries of Gilford but Laconia owns the land.

Gilford is expanding its transfer station near the Laconia Airport and wants to build a new roadway near the sand, which is apparently left over from an old construction project. The pile has been there long enough for mature trees to grow atop it. Rather than build a retaining wall to protect the road from shifting sand, Gilford would like to truck it all away.

That seemed simple enough when the issue was introduced at the June 26 Laconia City Council meeting, but complications soon arose.

How valuable is the sand? Who would move it to Laconia if the city wants it, and what would that cost, and who would pay for it? What part of the sand pile belongs to us, and what part belongs to Gilford?

Following much discussion, it was decided that the sand should be analyzed to determine its potential worth. Not all sand is alike. Some holds up well to compaction and can be used as a road bed. Others have a lot of fine material, but could still possibly be used as a bed for pipes.

Laconia Public Works Director Wes Anderson found out later the sand was of poor quality.

“It has 21 percent fine material,” he said. “It's not good enough for what we need. Thanks but no thanks.”

It's no good for sanding streets and can't be used as a base for roads or even as a bed for pipes.

Case closed? Not quite.

On Monday, Mayor Ed Engler told council members the Public Works Department has determined it has no use for the sand. That means there is no reason why Gilford can't do what it wants with the material.

Just one issue remains: How will Gilford mark the boundary of the Laconia Municipal Airport and the Gilford Transfer Station once the sand pile is removed.

“Any questions?” Engler asked councilors.

There were questions.

Q: Is the issue determining the boundary or marking the boundary?
A: Marking the boundary. Surveyors will determine the boundary.

Q: Are they (Gilford) going to remove that pile of sand?
A: Once the Laconia City Council gives permission, Gilford will remove it.

Q: We have no use for the sand, does that mean it has no value?
A: It essentially has no value, or not enough for Laconia to want to stockpile it.

Q: Rather than deal with this at our next meeting, can't we just let the city manager handle it from here.
A: No. The council will need to weigh in to make sure the boundary is appropriately marked so it's clear where airport property begins and to ensure there is no encroachment.

On Thursday, Myers said Gilford officials have agreed to place boulders on the boundary line.

That should meet with Laconia City Council approval at its next meeting, July 24, finally putting the sand issue to bed.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Mayor Engler expressed disbelief that such a minor matter required such consideration: “Never in a million years did I dream that sand pile would cause this much discussion.”

  • Written by Rick Green
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Parking outside of Laconia Spa changes to just 15 minutes

07 13 Peter Karagianis at Happy Jacks

Peter Karagianis, owner of Happy Jack Pipe and Tobacco Shop in his business. Time restrictions on parking spots in front on his business are being changed. (Rick Green, Laconia Daily Sun)


LACONIA — It should be a little easier to find a parking spot in front of the Laconia Spa neighborhood store and the Happy Jack Pipe and Tobacco Shop in the coming days.

The City Council on Monday approved a change that will set a 15-minute limit for a few spots on the street in front of the two businesses, instead of the current one-hour restriction now in place.

Peter Karagianis, who owns the tobacco shop and the space out of which the store operates, said a successful restaurant across the street, Karma Cafe, has been good for this part of the city, but has put a little extra pressure on his parking.

“We just need to have spots people can move in and out of,” he said.

The clientele of Happy Jack and the Laconia Spa like to be able to park right in front of the businesses and are not there long.

Karagianis would like the time limit marked in paint on the spots, but has also told the city it can place signs on the building notifying people of the parking restrictions. Signs posts placed near the street could interfere with snow plow operations, he said.

His late father, also Peter Karagianis, began operating the Laconia Spa in its present building at 65 Church St. in 1957. The elder Karagianis, who served as a state representative, moved the business from another location.

At one time, the Laconia Spa had a soda fountain. People once called such businesses spas for the refreshing drinks they served.

The building itself dates to the early 1900s, when its rooms provided overnight lodging to railroad passengers.

The building also was once an automobile dealership and repair operation known as the Esty Garage.

Laconia Spa

The Laconia Spa and Happy Jack Pipe and Tobacco Shop have parking spots that are being changed from one hour to 15 minutes. (Rick Green/ Laconia Daily Sun)

  • Written by Rick Green
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