Athol DPW has hands full with all this water

Published: 8/18/2018 5:16:17 PM

Here are brief thoughts on some of the events taking place around the North Quabbin area: Athol’s public works crews have had their hands full these days with all the rain we’ve been getting.

Assistant Highway Superintendent Dick Kilhart said recently that heavy downpours had crews scrambling to numerous washouts around town, including a resident’s banking that had washed out into the roadway on Radcliff Street. Other areas with severe washouts included the Lindsey Lane, Marshall and Pleasant Street areas.

“We are not accustomed to 3 inches of rain in a hour,” said Kilhart, “It’s a lot for our drainage system to handle.”

Kilhart said, “Long term, looking forward, building designs will change. Stormwater management is the next hot button for trying to handle, observe and manage the water — where are we going to put all this?”

We agree the town has a good crew that responds quickly to these sudden weather events, and we share Killhart’s view of what’s to come and glad to see he’s thinking ahead.

Picture perfect

John E. “Jack” Swedberg, a retired photographer for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, who died on July 9, will be remembered for his eagle photographs, which brought the state’s bald eagle restoration project in the Quabbin to life for so many people.

According to our outdoors columnist Mike Roche, who would know, for many people, Swedberg was best known for the hundreds of slide and film presentations he gave to various sporting, civic, church, youth, and other groups across the state.

Market moves

With the blessing of the Selectboard and the cooperation of the Millers River Environmental Center, the Athol Farmers Market has moved to 100 Main St., on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Mary Holtorf, who became manager of the Athol Farmers Market last year, said the small, committed group was operating on the Uptown Common, selling fresh vegetables, meat and eggs.

There, the market vendors did not have access to electricity, water or bathrooms.

The new location will allow cross promotion with the environmental center and other groups to bring more attention to the downtown. Sounds like a sound move.

Fixing Phillipston

The Phillipston Selectboard has accepted a state historic preservation agreement for Town Hall in exchange for a $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund to repair the building’s roof.

The original roof from 1891 probably deserved to spring some leaks, but needed fixing lest water damage the historic structure.

The state historic preservation agreement requires repairs and renovations to the building maintain its architectural and historic features.

But that’s OK, according to town officials who note the building is in the historic center of the town with the Congregational Church and older buildings dating back to the 1700s.

It’s fortunate the state supports historic preservation, because it would be difficult for the town on its own to do the job. Other projects the town is hoping to complete to the Town Hall include a new paint job and installing an elevator for individuals to access the auditorium from the ground level.

Good work

Two handymen are available to Erving residents over 60 through a grant awarded to the Senior Center.

Participating residents are required to pay for materials, but the grant money pays for labor.

Senior Center Director Paula Betters said the $1,500 helps with projects like installing a grab bar for wheelchair users, or the installation of air conditioners or repairing stairs.

Betters has to reapply for the grant annually and she said she plans on doing so again this year.

It’s a nice service to assist with those smaller projects that may be beyond the abilities of an elder homeowner who hasn’t got DIY family members handy. Thus far this year, 13 people have utilized the program.

“We hope more people will use it,” Betters said.

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