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Stephens Memorial may stay put
RUMFORD -- At a selectmen's meeting last month, Len Greaney proposed a plan to honor veterans in the River Valley by placing four memorials over the next three years in the Veterans Park, located at the end of Congress Street. He said the first of the memorials will be placed there in time for Memorial Day.
Since then, there has been some confusion about what the Board of Selectmen authorized, according to Town Manager Carlo Puiia, who reiterated that while selectmen supported the concept, the action was only to okay the placement of the one memorial over the next year.
Another part of Greaney's plan called for removal of the Stephens High School Memorial and placing it at the site of the former high school. However, selectmen took no action on that matter.
Puiia received a letter from a member of the Stephens High School Super Reunion Committee that stated that a reason for their memorial being in Veterans Park is because this serves as a tribute to a number of their students who dropped out of school to join the military during World War II.
The town manager explained to selectmen, "There is room at the park for this memorial (Stephens, as well as Greaney's planned memorials)."
In other business, after some discussion, selectmen voted unanimously to limit parking to four hours at the Rumford Point Congregational Church parking area, which has become a park and ride for many. This has created problems for church functions, with many attending being elderly.
Church trustee Harry Burns told selectmen that something should be done to restrict parking for a few hours only so as not to prevent churchgoers, most of whom are elderly, from having to park well away from the building for church functions or funeral services.
A Telstar High School student said that students and their families often meet at that location and leave vehicles there to carpool to athletic events in the Paris and Bethel areas.
Selectmen Chairman Brad Adley and Jeff Sterling then admitted that they were guilty of doing just that. Puiia and Burns recommended limiting such use to two hours only. Sterling suggested four hours only, like from 2 to 6 p.m. and to block it off for church functions.
“When a family can't get within a mile of the church, it's a problem,” Burns said. “There are only about six spots and in the middle of it, there is a road that goes into the back for handicap access and oil deliveries.”
He suggested widening an area on the other side of the bridge over the Androscoggin River for public parking, but Buccina said that land is privately owned. Additionally, he said that during winters, large snow drifts tend to form there.
And then Selectman Mark Belanger motioned to limit parking in the small lot to two hours only.
Sterling continued to press for four hours, suggesting it be tried to see if it works.
“If it becomes an issue, we can reduce it to two hours seven days a week,” he said.
After Belanger's motion was defeated, they approved Sterling's motion to limit parking to four hours.
Puiia said asbestos abatement began Monday at the town-acquired building on Waldo Street. That will be followed by the building being razed by Archie's, Inc. He noted that there is a business that has expressed interest in that area.
Puiia said the Dept. of Transportation recently installed signs at the bottom of Falls Hill and approaching Falls Hill upon request of the town manager following the log truck accident that occurred there this fall.