By Angeljean Chiaramida
---- — SALISBURY — Contracts were awarded recently on two important town projects: the Blackwater River flood control project and the evaluation of the space needs for housing the police, fire and public works departments.
According to Town Manager Neil Harrington, the joint venture proposal of the Newburyport firms of Rimmer Environmental Consulting and GZA GeoEnviromental, Inc. was selected to develop and file all the necessary environmental permits for the Blackwater River flood control effort. The project is meant to relieve the flooding that has for decades inundated homes and streets along the west side of North End Boulevard that back up to the salt marsh and Blackwater River.
The joint proposal was the lowest bid among five other proposals, Harrington said. The $24,160 contract will be paid for with funds from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The town has for years worked on the project with the Army Corps of Engineers and state and federal agencies. It’s been a long haul, but the permitting process is expected to take from five to six months to complete, and it will begin shortly with the town’s Conservation Commission, Harrington told selectmen at their recent meeting.
In order to build the flood wall to keep sea water from flooding the area during high tides and storm surges, about 50 easements from abutting property owners must be negotiated. Harrington said William LaChance of the Danvers firm Petersen, LaChance, Regan and Pino was chosen to perform the appraisals for those easements.
He will be sending out letters to those involved this week to set up appointments so values for the easements can be determined. The contract for the appraisals, which amounts to $45,900, is also paid for with money coming from DCR, Harrington said.
Somerville-based HKT was chosen from among the five firms that submitted proposals to evaluate the future needs of the town’s police, fire and public works departments. HKT, a multipurpose firm with a history of planning, designing and managing rehabilitation or new construction projects for municipal public safety and public works facilities, was chosen after interviews and background checks with former clients, Harrington said.
The $25,000 contract comes from monies allocated in previous years for this purpose by Town Meeting, Harrington said.
Over the coming three months, HKT will work with Salisbury’s Facilities Committee to analyze the town’s needs for the three departments and propose upgrades to existing facilities or recommend new construction. Cost estimates of all recommendations will also be provided so the town can budget for its future plans in this area, Harrington said.