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May 15. 2013 8:57PM

Greenville needs additional funds to start High Street project

GREENVILLE — Town officials are requesting a special town meeting in an effort to get additional funds for the High Street project approved.

On March 31, 2010, heavy rains caused part of an unstable slope under High Street to go crashing into the river below, jeopardizing the road and a home at the top of the hill. Since that time, the street has been closed to through traffic as the town works to develop a plan to prevent future landslides.

“I don’t want to see High Street fall into the Souhegan River,” said Town Administrator Kelly Collins, who has been working on the project for the last three years.

Collins said Greenville was able to secure funding for 75 percent of the project through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and additional funding through state and local resources to cover the estimated $1.438 million project. However, when engineered plans were put out to bid, the lowest bid came back around $260,000 higher than the estimated cost of the project.

FEMA will cover 75 percent of that cost increase, Collins said, but the town needs to appropriate that sum and raise the additional $87,000 through taxation.

“We want to get this project started this construction season because the FEMA grant expires four years from the date of the incident, so it expires next March,” Collins said. “We need to get it done this summer.”

The town will be petitioning Hillsborough County Superior Court’s southern division on May 21 to seek permission to hold the special town meeting.

“We’re hoping to go before the court as soon as possible and hold the meeting by the middle of June,” she said.

The low bidder for the project has already been selected and is working with engineers to finalize plans to secure the hill. Sheet piles pounded into the side of the hill should provide stability and a layer of large stones will prevent the soil from sliding in heavy rains.

Next year, the town will be seeking more money from FEMA and the taxpayers to do surface drainage work to keep water off the hill once it’s repaired. But for now the focus is on getting the hill stabilized.

“I think the people who live on High Street are discouraged. I don’t think anybody wanted it to take three years to fix this,” said Collins.

But if the additional funds are approved at a special town meeting, construction can start immediately, she said.

nfoster@newstote.com


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