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I have never doubted Lou Kahn's integrity or his motivation

To The Daily Sun,

I was sorry to learn Lou Kahn has resigned from the Meredith Selectboard.

I am surprised to find myself writing in support of Lou. The first time I had an encounter with him was a number of years ago. Lou was a volunteer on the Planning Board, and I, along with a number of other people from my area, was fighting the development of some property we hoped to preserve. After a number of meetings, the Planning Board was on the verge of voting to prohibit the development, and the developers of the property asked that their application be withdrawn. For a variety of procedural reasons, things were put on hold until the next meeting. At the next meeting, Lou presented a resolution proposing a solution to a very difficult situation. To the dismay of those of us who were fighting the development, the board adopted Lou's proposal, and we were defeated.

At the time, I remember that, despite my disappointment, I felt appreciation for all the people on that board. These were people donating their time, experience, and wisdom trying to find solutions to difficult issues. No matter what the outcome on that particular issue, there would be disappointed parties, and possibly damaged parties. I was impressed that we had people who were willing to take on such a thankless task.

I remember leaving the four-hour Selectboard meeting on the Route 3 & 25 traffic problem, concerned about the tenor and outcome of that meeting. It had to be frustrating for everyone who had served on the 3/25 committee. Under the format used, I do not think any proposal would have passed that night. There seemed to be no focus to the meeting other than to agree that the solution presented by the committee was not perfect. More than the result, I was discouraged by the process and the tone of the discussion.

I feel that we are very fortunate in this state, and especially in our town of Meredith, to have people who give so much to make our town and our state function so well. I do not think defeating the proposal was the problem. I fear the problem is the way the people who worked for so long and hard trying to find an improvement to an intractable problem were treated. I worry that, as a result, people who have worked hard on our various committees and boards will feel that their efforts are not appreciated. That they and others who might think about stepping up and  volunteering will be discouraged by the way others have been treated, and their efforts not valued. I fear that the generous and reasonable people who have been so important in having our town function will drop out and not step up in the future.

I thank so many of you who have served so selflessly for this town, and I hope you will continue in your difficult jobs. I can think of few who have worked as hard as Lou Kahn over the years. Even though you disappointed me with your motion so many years ago, I have never doubted your integrity or your motivation. So a special thanks to you, Lou.

Tom Crane


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Let's move Gale School to solid foundation & convert to SAU office

To The Daily Sun,

Belmont Residents voting "Yes" on March 6 to demolish the Gale School will not only increase your property taxes, but will be a huge mistake. There are many myths associated with historic property restoration that I am hoping to put an end to in this letter.

1. You can't change a historic building. You have to leave it as is because it's "protected." FALSE

Historic property designation does not require leaving the building as is. All buildings need to be upgraded from time to time to remain viable, it is understood that some changes will be necessary to bring the building up to today's current codes. When alterations and repairs are made, it is important to protect those elements of the building that reflect historic character. Since these are usually the parts of the building that everyone agrees make it special, often there is little interest in removing or changing these elements anyway such as the exterior of the building.

2. A successful business needs a slick, new building, and costs much less than restoring a historic structure. FALSE.

More often than not, historic buildings have great location and impressive appearance. Generally, they are also well known to the community, as opposed to a new building which usually needs some time and promotion to attain the same level of public recognition. Depending on the current condition of the building and its intended use, it's often less expensive to rehabilitate. In fact, rehabilitation can cost up to 12 percent less than new construction. Historic building rehabilitation can also be up to 18 percent faster than building new. (Rypkema, 2003).

Our Gale School is in an exceptional condition (www.belmontnh.net/GaleEducation) (see 2013 Gale School Inspections Town of Belmont vs. Omega Structural Engineers). This structure has significant ties to the community of Belmont. Former students who went through its doors, former students who may have not been in the building per se, but who have built replicas in the classroom of the structure, and who have learned the history of the building. A building that the community honors on floats throughout many Old Home Day parades, and a building that engages curiosity of our youth to know the history of our community.

3. Old buildings are not energy efficient. FALSE.

Because historic buildings tend to have fewer windows comprising the exterior walls, they may be more efficient than newer buildings which have a larger percentage of exterior walls made up of windows. Buildings with a 30 to 40 percent window to wall ratio are most efficient. But, that ratio is typically exceeded in modern buildings because they contain much more glass. As well, historic windows that are well fitted and have properly installed storm windows generally provide an R2 insulation value, about the same as a modern, double glazed window. (United States National Parks Service)

I caution all who vote "Yes" to demolish this building. It will cost $10,000 more in tax dollars to relocate the building. Are you willing to pay to have it demolished, gone forever for a measly $10,000 saved. A 1982 graduate of Belmont High School, has donated $115,000 to place this structure on a sound foundation. Apparently he feels this structure should be saved. The Save Our Gale School Committee stands behind this building.

Go to the Belmont NH Heritage Facebook page to see the many individuals who are fighting for this structure. I want taxpayers to become informed before making this decision, know the facts. For those who were not born and raised in Belmont, step back to your childhood, your hometown, how would you feel about a special building being torn down in your hometown. I realize tax dollars are hard on everyone this day and age, but we as a community can raise the funds to save this building with little to no taxpayer dollars.

Let's move this building to a solid foundation, turn it into SAU Offices, opening up the Memorial Building (current SAU Offices) for full-time kindergarten. Spending no money on portable buildings in the future, and planning for a bus loop around the middle school for safety reasons down the road. Please vote "No" to demolishing the Gale School on March 6, let us save our hard earned tax dollars, and put those spent where it makes most sense.

Diane Marden


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