HARWICH — There are changes taking place on the north corner of the intersection of routes 137 and 39 with the leveling of a section of the site for the new East Harwich fire station, but those changes will also include a new memorial park to be centered around the flag pole cell tower area.
“I've filed site plan paperwork,” Town Administrator Christopher Clark said on Thursday. The town administrator said they are putting the planning board on notice they will be cleaning up the site. He said there has always been an intent to make the site into a park, and that there are plenty of people in-house with the skill to design and develop it.
Fire Chief Norman Clarke informed the selectmen last week the Robert B. Our Company has cleared the site for the new fire station and he has met with the construction manager for Mill City Construction, Inc. of Lincoln, R.I., the general contractor. Clarke called him a “tremendous individual,” adding he has a lot of confidence in him.
But that is not the only work taking place there, Department of Public Works Director Lincoln Hooper said. The company that leases the cell tower site has done some desperately needed repairs to that flag pole structure, which Hooper said had been “piecemealed” together. There have been problems with the halyards for the flag getting caught on sections of the cell tower. There have also been periodic complaints about the absence of a flag there.
“The flag is back up,” Hooper said, noting that the lease with the wireless provider requires a flag to be flown there. Hooper said panels have fallen off the structure, but SBA Communications, Inc. has done the right thing, adding newly designed panels so the ropes do not get caught on it.
“SBA, Inc., is trying to appease us,” Hooper said of replacing a fence there and adding a stockade fence around the lights. This represents a good opportunity to give the area a face lift, clearing out the area and making it more like a park, he said. Hooper said his department will clear out the scrub pines and loam and seed the area for the park.
“It's always called for that and it makes a lot more sense with the new fire station there,” Selectman Donald Howell said.
Hooper said the original lease with Sprint called for the town to place a Veterans Memorial Park there at the town's expense.
The fire chief also said the plan is to extend the sidewalk from the corner of the intersection to the new fire station and the adjacent bank.
“It's a good time to blend it all in,” Clarke said. “Incorporate it with the new fire station and enhance the look of the whole corner.”
Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh said the town site is one lot, and the planning board approved the site plan as part of the new fire station project. For that reason, the town will have to go back to adjust the plan for any additional changes there, she said. Greenhalgh said she and Conservation Administrator Amy Usowski will be working on a plan for the site.
What they are envisioning, Greenhalgh said, is a bench or two and maybe a memorial park with another smaller flag pole. The idea is to beautify the area with flowering bulbs and shrubs so that in each season a little different color is added to the site. She said it will be placed on the planning board's agenda to explain what they want to do there.
Hooper said the work will not begin until this fall, after the town goes back for site plan approval. He estimated the cost would be minor, mostly town labor. “We have the loam and seed and there will be a few plants and a walkway added, he said. The DPW director estimated they would be cutting down about 50 scrub pines.