CHESTER – Road agent Mike Oleson and local contractors have been busy this summer moving the large pile of dirt and debris next to the salt shed to make room for an additional bay, and in so doing have created the start of a more usable playing field behind the municipal building.
So far the work has consisted of digging down the pile, separating stumps for composting and trucking load after load across town. Wednesday, July 30, was the last day of trucking and saw Oleson in a backhoe piling the dirt for trucking by Michael Babin’s company.
Many have been impressed with the scope of the field work behind the municipal building. The field has been used previously for sports, most recently with some young soccer players practicing there, but the fill has leveled the field and extended the playing area.
A lot of work has gone into leveling the field, grading it out and installing silt fencing to make sure it doesn’t wash away. According to Oleson he’ll let it sit until next spring to allow the dirt time to settle. At that point another layer of screened dirt will be bulldozed across and then seeded.
The road agent guessed that it would be a couple of years before the field was ready, but said the process was off to a good start.
Some additional work is still to be done screening the dirt at the salt shed. Stumps found were trucked next door to the Remillard family’s land and to the composting facility run there.
The dirt mound comes from road work under the last road bond, directed by then-road agent Rob Brown.
At Town Meeting in May voters approved $65,000 for debris removal, the cost offset by the annual state highway block grant, and $85,000 for the construction of two bays, with $54,000 of the latter sum from the block grant as well.
Extending into the area where the dirt has been removed, the plan is to build an approximately 40-foot by 40-foot bay for the storage of a new dump truck also purchased at Town Meeting. On the other side of the building, a smaller structure will be erected to house sanders and other equipment when not in use.
The new bay will provide an area for highway workers to maintain and repair trucks and equipment, something the current highway shed is not large enough for, according to Oleson.
While there are no plans for the large open space that has come about from moving the dirt, there have been discussions at the selectmen’s level about planning long term for a highway garage and an expanded department. Oleson noted that the large area could provide that space if the town goes in that direction.