Boardwalk repairs up for vote in East Lyme

East Lyme - Residents will vote Wednesday on whether to appropriate funds to repair the Niantic Bay Boardwalk and hire a consultant to design a plan to upgrade the town's elementary school facilities.

The special town meeting, which includes several other items, will take place at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The agenda calls for residents to vote to appropriate $54,800 for an architectural firm to develop educational specifications and cost estimates for upgrading the elementary school facilities.

The Board of Education has approved an $82,200 contract with Jacunski Humes Architects to design the first two phases of a three-part project. The firm will consult with the community as it develops a solution for the town's three aging elementary school buildings.

In the first phase, the firm will study the elementary school facilities and the options outlined by the Facilities Vision Task Force, a committee that studied the elementary schools. The firm will review a 2011 study on the facilities, enrollment projections and the task force's report, and make recommendations to the school board.

The firm is expected to get feedback at public forums and meet with the school board, community groups and a design committee recently formed by the board for the project.

A second phase, likely for next school year, will prepare the district and community for a referendum and applications for state grants and reimbursement. A third phase, which was not part of the contract approved last week, would be to execute the selected construction option.

This year's funding for the architect will come from the fees that LEARN, a regional education agency, pays the district to rent a wing at the Lillie B. Haynes Elementary School. The remaining amount is included in next year's education budget.

Funding to rebuild the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, which several storms damaged over the years, is also on the agenda. Design plans call for rebuilding the boardwalk as a concrete structure with steel pilings.

Residents will be asked to appropriate up to $4,442,779 from insurance and legal settlements, as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, to rebuild the town's portion of the boardwalk. The town already approved allocating a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant toward the project. If approved, construction would begin in spring and end in December, according to town engineers.

Residents will also be asked to appropriate $43,500 for a state drunken-driving enforcement program; $15,000 toward a playscape at Samuel M. Peretz Park at Bridebrook; and $2,320 and $180 in associated benefits toward partially funding a museum curator for the Smith Harris Commission. Residents will also vote to appropriate a $21,107 municipal grant in aid for town roads.


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