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Selectmen stick with Ranger for phase two of Front Street renovations

A crew paving the end of Front Street in November.

FARMINGTON - A change order was passed 3-2 at Tuesday night's selectboard meeting, solidifying the decision to stay with Ranger Contracting for phase two of the renovation work on Front Street as opposed to putting the project back out to bid. Selectmen Mike Fogg, Stephen Bunker and Scott Landry were in favor of the decision, while chair of the board Josh Bell and selectman Matt Smith were opposed.

The decision came after considerable discussion among the board with Town Manager Richard Davis and two Front Street business owners who expressed concern with the handling of phase one of the project. Both business owners said the delay in completion of the project was of concern to them, as well as the lack of communication from the project manager.

"The project has taken longer than any of us would have liked," owner of Ranger Bill Sanborn told the board.

Sanborn said the reportedly 5-week delay boiled down to bad weather and the need to wait for additional easements before moving forward with work. Assuming that there are no more delays, Sanborn verbally committed to finishing phase two of the project by June 30. The company will begin work on the upper half of Front Street as soon as the weather allows, roughly by May 1. The second half of the project, which includes the installation of a sidewalk as well as some lighting work, will not require the road to be completely closed off, Sanborn said.

In other news, the board gave authorization to Davis to negotiate with Franklin County Commissioners concerning the use of the Anson Street parking lot. Downtown has seen an influx of vehicles, Davis said, noting the addition of Origin USA who now employs 50 people at its downtown location. If more overnight spots were available in the Anson Street lot it could free up daytime space in the lot on Church Street, Davis suggested. The Downtown Business Association is also discussing possible solutions to the problem.

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  1. If you stop foothills renters from parking there it would free up half the spots on church street