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Durham eyes improvements to park

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 1:26 pm | Updated: 9:08 am, Wed Oct 3, 2012.

DURHAM – The Durham Conservation Commission is looking for bids to fix up the small building in Durham’s River Park.

The Conservation Commission’s Russ Jabaut said the building is the former home of Durham resident Solomon Andresen. Jabut said when Andresen died, his family didn’t want the property, so the Conservation Commission raised money by soliciting contributions from residents and bought the 12 acres on Route 136. Created in 2000, the park is situated along the Androscoggin River. It has several hiking trails through the woods along the river’s edge and a small boat landing area for canoes and kayaks, as well as a picnic area.

Jabut said that the small house, which was intended to be used as a nature center, has seen some improvements since the park was established. He said the inside was insulated and sheet rocked and an upgraded floor was installed, but there is still work that needs to be done.

The commission is planning on using money that it has from a park improvement grant from the state Department of Conservation to pay for the work, Jabut said. He said the commission received the grant of about $10,000-$12,000 before the park was fully established, and the money has been in an interest-bearing account since then, and the commission still has about $12,000 in the account, Jabut said.

“We want to finish using the grant money and we want to give the town a building that doesn’t require maintenance all the time,” Jabut said.

The commission is seeking bids to:

• Remove two windows on the north side of the building opposite the front door. Jabut said that the back windows, which are not visible from  Route 136, have been broken by vandals and the commission has decided to remove the windows to avoid the cost of having to replace them if they are broken again. "We said, you don't need windows in the back of the building, you've got two on the sunny side and one on each end and that's plenty of light," he said.

• Frame, insulate and apply and finish sheet rock in the interior where the windows were removed, including a vapor barrier, and sheathe the outside of the building to be ready to apply new siding.

• Apply a no-maintenance [vinyl, aluminum, cement plank etc.] covering to all exterior surfaces with the exception of the roof.

• Remove and replace the storm and entry doors with an insulated no- or low-maintenance door addressing any rot under the currently deteriorated threshold.

• Install a full aluminum gutter with downspout across the front of the building.

While there is nothing in the building right now, Jabut said, once the work is done, the commission hopes to see the building used as a nature center as it was intended.

"(We are) creating a space you that maybe the Girl Scouts or the Boy Scouts or some organization would like to use for some nature-related (educational) purpose," he said.

While the hope is to get the work done this fall, Jabut said there is no closing date on the bids yet. Anyone interested in bidding on the project should contact Jabut at 784-2261 or by email at rjabaut@comcast.net.

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