HANSON — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Dec. 8 voted to approve revised language in the solicitation of quotes for a de-regionalization feasibility study.
The board asked Town Administrator John Stanbrook to obtain three quotes for the work.
“I’m trying to get some feedback on what you think,” Stanbrook said. “Do you want me to include more [specifications], do you want me to take things out? It’s pretty much discussion time.”
Selectman Wes Blauss said the proposal looked good to him, but said he was curious about how three bids could be found.
Requirements that bidders demonstrate proof of work on prior school de-regionalization studies — including work on five in the last five years, and a list of three districts served in the Commonwealth — were also questioned by Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett.
“I’m just not really sure that many people have done de-regionalization studies,” she said. “I just didn’t want to hamstring ourselves. Clearly, we want somebody to demonstrate that they’ve done this before … but I would ask maybe asking the board to maybe put a little bit of flexible language in there so we don’t hamstring ourselves and don’t end up with nobody applying.”
Selectman Matt Dyer suggested amending the wording to reflect that preference would be given to firms demonstrating such a track record, rather than requiring it of all applicants. The board agreed.
Bids would be opened with the aim of awarding a contract on Jan. 8, 2021. A preliminary report for any contracted firm would be due by May 1, which raised questions about whether that provides sufficient time for a final report by June 30.
“We don’t want to extend the date and then have someone say, ‘Great, we’ve got seven months, we can take our time with this,” Selectmen Chairman Kenny Mitchell said. “We want to create a sense of urgency with this.”
Mitchell said any need for deadline extensions could involve an application process of its own.
Selectman Jim Hickey reminded the board that voters would have to be fully informed of the results by Town Meeting.
Selectmen also approved an Eagle Scout project proposed by Troop 68 Scout T.J. Woodward to improve parking and develop a trail at Poor Brook Meadow nature trail, property the town acquired through Community Preservation fund and has not done much with, according to FitzGerald-Kemmett.
“It’s pretty much an undeveloped area,” Woodward agreed.
The land, near Hanson Grain, has a partially developed trail. Woodward proposed to square up the parking area, clean everything up, placing a trail kiosk in a designated location, and develop a one to 1.5-mile trail for the area, pinpointing nature and historic features along the loop trail.
Woodward, a carpentry student at South Shore Tech, plans to build the kiosk there.
“People really haven’t been able to enjoy the property, so this is fabulous,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said, asking about how the trail will traverse wet areas.
Woodward said it was very dry during walk-throughs, but said it is apparent there are potentially wet areas.
“We’re trying to go around most of them, but if I have to — based on where the trail is routed — we’ll put up to three land bridges to go over those areas,” he said.
Fundraising will center on bottle and can drives and monetary donations.