, Gloucester, MA

May 21, 2013

Manchester voters face $700,000 Special Town Meeting questions

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — MANCHESTER — The town’s election polls are open until 8 tonight at Manchester Memorial School for the Annual Town Election, but voters will also get to have their say on Wednesday on two articles at a Special Town Meeting that night as well.

The Special Town Meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the school’s auditorium, where voters will make decisions regarding $700,000 worth of articles.

The first article, asking voters for permission to borrow, seeks to allocate $160,000 to repair the sewer outfall pipe in Manchester Harbor.

The second article would allocate $540,000 toward repairing and restoring the damaged seawall along Singing Beach and other areas hit hard by storms in February and March. That money would also be raised through borrowing.

The emergency work on the sewer pipe was completed May 14, well ahead of schedule.

”It went by surprisingly smooth,” said interim Department of Public Works director Bill Fitzgerald.

The section of pipe was right next to the water and commuter rail tracks, Fitzgerald said, adding that he initially thought the work would be problematic, as it required a barge to access the section of pipe.

The contractors were Giosia and Sons, and minimal bypass pumping into the harbor was required.

The connecting joint that ties two materials — plastic and metal — from the wastewater facility to the town’s harbor was replaced, allowing so wastewater flow back into the inner harbor.

Selectman Tom Kehoe, who is also the Deputy Emergency Management Director, said from seawall and beach repairs would run from parking lots to sidewalks, with areas of Tucks Point, White Beach and Black Beach also due to be included.

Approximately $400,000 of Article 2’s allocation would go toward Singing Beach’s seawall.

“We have tremendous beach erosion at Singing Beach,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe said the town suffered the most damage in mid February and early March. But because the storms – unlike the early February Blizzard of 2013, were not declared disasters by the state, Manchester did not see any additional funding from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The town had approached MEMA after the damage to seek emergency funds, but was denied.

Some areas, such as the sidewalk between White and Black Beach, have undergone minor repairs funded through Community Preservation Act and Open Space funding, as the sidewalk has began to form sink holes.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at