, Derry, New Hampshire

December 20, 2012

Adams Pond talk still on residents' minds

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — The future of Adams Pond and its dam is still on the minds of residents.

Even after a Town Council vote not to take town ownership of the failing dam and a subsequent vote to not reconsider that decision, many people are still hoping for a different outcome to save the historic waters.

Conservation Commission Chairman Margie Ives led a brainstorming session Dec. 13 to keep the pond and dam in the news and try to find some ways to make sure the waters remain safe.

The dam is owned by developer Jean Gagnon, who gave the town an option of taking over his deficient dam and a 0.73-acre parcel nearby.

He is also planning a subdivision — Deer Run at Adams Pond — near the pond.

But the town said no.

About 20 people attended the meeting last week to pitch quick ideas to see what could be done now that the town has decided not to take control.

“I would surmise some here are in favor of keeping the pond and some are not,” Ives said. “Where do we go from here?”

Ives said she called the meeting to keep the discussion going after many people approached her saying they had viable ideas to somehow protect the pond.

“There has been a lot of discussion,” she said. “Protecting the water is the most important part.”

Many say if the dam goes away, the pond may go away as well.

Ives said the ideas she is hearing are very creative, ranging from forming a citizens group to somehow paying for the required dam repairs, taking it off Gagnon’s hands, and also writing to councilors to see if there is any way they may take another vote on the dam’s outcome.

Getting the word out is key.

“How do we get the Town Council to reconsider again?” resident Leslie Seboyer asked. “And how do we get funding in place to move ahead?”

Seboyer was one of a group of citizens hoping to raise money to save the dam and the pond.

Getting the community involved could prove useful.

That includes using town historian Richard Holmes as a possible outlet for historical information, providing local television programs on the area’s history.

Resident Kelly Martin spoke against the town taking ownership of the dam at earlier council meetings.

“This is a private matter and not one the taxpayers of Derry need to resolve and certainly not pay for,” she said.

At the meeting last week, Martin said she is not against maintaining the beauty of the Adams property, but wants Gagnon to take responsibility for his own dam problems.

“Gagnon has no reason other than to keep that pristine,” she said.

The dialogue will continue, Ives said, as Gagnon has a timeline for either fixing the dam or removing it.

She said she will go through ideas presented and prioritize them in time for the next meeting, set for Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. in the municipal center’s second-floor meeting room.