Sale of Lakeport Station building proceeds (743)


LACONIA — The City Council this week voted, with only Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) dissenting, to solicit requests for proposals to purchase the former Lakeport Fire Station with options to purchase one or both of two adjacent lots .

Lakeport Fire StationAltogether, the three lots amount to less than an acre. The lot housing the fire station is 0.32 acres and has been appraised for $275,000. The abutting lot to the rear of the building is 0.195 acres and has an appraised value of $51,000. The third lot, a 0.81-acre strip between Union Avenue and the railroad with an appraised value of $32,000, is what remains of the larger parcel the city leased to Lakeport Landing for 30 years, but earlier this year was assigned to Irwin Marine when the lease expired.

The boundaries of the two largest lots will be redrawn to preserve the city right-of-way on Railroad Avenue. The city will add a sidewalk on Elm Street but abandon the remainder of its abandon its right-of-way in front of the old fire station, enlarging that lot by 3,622 square feet. The curb cut on Elm Street will leave Railroad Avenue the sole access to the lots. And the city will require an easement to maintain the retaining wall along Union Avenue on the smallest of the lots.

In seeking requests for proposals, the council has explained that the property will not necessarily be sold to the highest bidder, but instead to the party whose proposal is deemed in the best interest of the city as determined solely by the City Council. To that end, the council has attached conditions to the transaction, which it expects all proposals to meet.

Although proposals need not include the purchase of all three lots, they must include the purchase of the lot housing the fire station. Proposals must specify how and when the property will be redeveloped, along with an estimate of the value of the renovation or construction. In particular, proposals must indicate whether or not the fire station will be incorporated into the redevelopment of the site. Moreover, the council expects the site to be redeveloped in a timely manner and will require proposals to include a timetable for renovation or construction. In addition, a clause providing for its repurchase by the city will be included in the closing documents to protect the city's interest should the buyer fail to proceed in a timely fashion. Proposals must include the price offered for the parcel or parcels. And all proposals will become part of the public record.

The fire station, which will be sold "as is," will be open for inspection on Friday, Dec. 16, between 2 and 3:30 p.m., and again on Wednesday, Dec. 21, between 10:30 a.m. and noon.

Proposals must be submitted by the close of business on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and any questions about the process must be submitted in writing by Wednesday, Feb. 3. Proposals may be submitted on forms available from the City Manager's office or through the city website under the Current Opportunities under the Purchasing Department. Questions should be addressed to the city manager by email, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or at City of Laconia, 45 Beacon St. East, Laconia, NH 03246. Responses to questions will be in writing and both questions and answers will become part of the public record.

Meanwhile, after voting with his fellow councilors to declare the property surplus and not objecting when Myers was directed to frame the request for proposals, Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) dissented when the council voted to solicit offers and asked for the issue to be referred to the Land and Buildings Committee. He said that "people in Lakeport are upset," expressed concern about the loss of parking spaces and referred to "restrictions" on the lots. Mayor Ed Engler reminded him that he had voted to declare the property surplus and had not objected when Myers was directed to draft the parameters of the transaction. Moreover the mayor stressed that the council was not binding itself to sell any or all of the lots.

Councilor Henery Lipman (Ward 3) said Bolduc's concerns did not preclude pursuing the process and anticipated some or all of the issues he raised would be addressed by the different proposals. that the recess could continue. Undeterred, Bolduc moved to refer the matter to the Land and Buildings Committee and with only Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) dissenting, his motion carried five-to-one. The committee will meet prior to the first council in the new year at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan.y 9.

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A tiny house takes shape

Huot Center students learn a lot by doing construction


LACONIA — Under the watchful eyes of professional home builders and building inspectors, students of the Building Construction program at the Huot Technical Center put in full day's work on Tuesday as the skeleton of the roof of the "tiny house" reached its full height of 13 feet, 5 inches.

The students, all seniors in their second year of the program, are building a house of just 192 square feet with an 80-square-foot loft set on a wheeled trailer. The project is being directed by Matt Towle. The Huot Technical Center is among four Career Technical Centers participating in this workforce development initiative sponsored by the New Hampshire State Lottery and the New Hampshire Home Builders Association. Altogether, five tiny houses will be built, one each at the Huot Technical Center, Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center, Alvirne High School and two at the Seacoast School of Technology.

"We're here to watch the students work and answer their questions," said John Dever III, the building inspector in Alton. As Mary Davis of Gilford, one of two young women in the class, flattened exposed nails, he explained that although they would be covered when the insulation and ceilings are installed, she was wisely eliminating a risk to others at work on the building. "We're here to help more than inspect," he said.

Likewise, Kurt Clason of K.A. Clason Fine Woodworking Corporation of Laconia, one of a number of members of the Lakes Region chapter of the New Hampshire Home Builders Association, to share the day with the students, said that his colleagues were on hand to lend their knowledge and experience to the project. He emphasized that despite the size of the house, its construction enables students to "see how the whole system of house and the process of building it works together."

Julie Hayward of Hayward and Company of Meredith, past president of the New Hampshire Home Builders Association, said the Lakes Region chapter is the largest in the state and counts many builders of fine custom homes among its members, who bring experience of unique skills and craftsmanship to the project.

Apart from observers and helpers, the Lakes Region Home Builders Association has also provided an exacting customer for the tiny house in the person of Patti Phelps, the secretary of the group. An interior designer, she said that she intends to make sure the students make the best use of the limited space as they install bathroom fixtures and kitchen cabinetry.

Colin Horton, who completed the program two years ago and now works for Wood & Clay of Gilford, was somewhat envious. "We built sheds and bob houses," he said, recalling the scene of 15 students building a bob house. "I love the program," he said. "I learn new stuff everyday where I'm at, but this gets you started." Ryan Smock of Wood & Clay agreed. "This program provides a good starting set of skills," he said, and stressed the the opportunity to build an entire house was especially significant.

"It's a lot of fun," said Sam Guyer, who is in both the Building Construction and Plumbing and Heating programs. He said that he worked to build the loft and looked forward to doing some of the plumbing, which remains to be designed. He worked for Island Service Corporation of Meredith in the summer, building additions and decks as well as installing septic systems and intends to pursue a business management degree in college with eye to owning his own construction business.

Although Bryson LaChapelle of Winnisquam has built bob houses and is building a cabin, which he with a grin he called "unique," the house is first. "I love building and this is the whole thing," he said. As much as he enjoys construction, he said that he is taken by "the magic of hydraulics" and looks forward to working with heavy equipment.

When the five tiny houses are complete, they will be displayed and judged at the New Hampshire State Home Show in Manchester in March. Meanwhile, in January. the New Hampshire Lottery will introduce a "Tiny House Big Money" scratch ticket with the winning house as one of the top prizes. The remaining four houses will be auctioned and the proceeds distributed between the schools and New Hampshire Home Builders Association.

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Wielding a nail gun, Mary Davis secures the rafters in anticipation of sheathing and roofing the tiny house. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Alexis Albert, left, and Mary Davis, right, work together with direction from Matt Towle, who heads the Building Construction program at the Huot Technical Center, building frames for the wheel wells on the trailer holding the tiny house. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

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With a height of 13 feet, 5 inches, the tiny house being built by the senior students of the Building Construction program at the Huot Technical Center will be a tight fit when it is rolled out of the school and headed for the New Hampshire State Home Show in March. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Mayor, Bank of NH Pavilion donate to Colonial project


LACONIA — Mayor Ed Engler has personally contributed $10,000 to the capital campaign to renovate and restore the Colonial Theatre and that the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion pledged another $80,000 toward the project, The Belknap Economic Development Corporation announced this week.

In June 2015, during his first term as mayor, Engler announced that the city, in partnership with the Belknap Economic Development Council, would purchase the property, which includes the auditorium, nine commercial units and 18 residential units, for $1.4 million and assemble a financial package approaching $15 million to renovate and restore it.

"Government at this level," Engler said that day, "can be defined as what we decide to do together, and with our friends at the Belknap Economic development Council, we're going to do this." He drew an enthusiastic round of applause when he urged a crowd gathered at Wayfarer Coffee Roasters "to think of the theater as they think of the football field, as a civic amenity, a civic asset that belongs to all of us."

Meanwhile, Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion has supported the project by purchasing $80,000 in tax credits offered by the New Hampshire Community Development Investment Program, which were awarded for the project earlier this year. RJ Harrding, president of the Bank of New Hampshire Paviliion, said "We are very proud to support the Colonial Theatre and look forward to it reopening in the future. The theater," he continued, "will serve as an anchor to our community and we encourage other organizations to consider making a donation to this worthwhile project,"

Speaking for the Belknap Economic Development Council, executive director Justin Slattery expressed appreciation for both contributions and said "since the start of the capital campaign, we have received an outpouring of support from businesses and residents in the Lakes Region.We are making good progress," he added, "and ask that any business or resident interested in learning more about the Colonial Theater capital campaign contact us at 603-524-3057 or"

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Laconia Mayor Ed Engler, left, gives a personal donation of $10,000 to Randy Eifert, chairmon of the Belknap Economic Development Council toward the Colonial Theatre renovation campaign. (Courtesy photo)

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Making an $80,000 donation to Justin Slattery, Belknap EDC Executive Director, center, were Michael Seymour, Bank Of NH Pavilion COO; Bridget Harding, Bank Of NH Pavilion owner; Dom DeCarli, Bank Of NH Facilities Director; and Marci DeCarli, Bank Of NH Pavilion Marketing Director. (Courtesy photo)

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