, Derry, New Hampshire


October 25, 2012


Derry town councilors are still in a quandary about the fate of the historic Adams Pond Dam.

Councilors and the public are split on what to do with the dam, which is in need of repair. The owner of the dam, developer Jean Gagnon of Londonderry, has said he cannot afford the estimated $150,000 cost of rebuilding the dam. So he has offered to give the dam and the surrounding embankment to Derry. The problem of fixing the dam would then belong to the council.

The council’s choice boils down to these options: accept the dam and the responsibility of fixing it, which could cost up to $150,000, or reject the offer and leave the decision to Gagnon. The developer, who is building a subdivision on 85 acres around Adams Pond, has said he will remove the dam, which could reduce the pond to a mere stream.

It is a difficult choice, one the Town Council needs to examine more closely.

The council already has rejected the offer of the dam once. Last week, the council deadlocked 3-3 in a vote to take ownership of the dam. Councilors Phyllis Katsakiores, Neil Wetherbee and Brad Benson all voted to accept the dam plan. But Councilors Michael Fairbanks, David Milz and Joel Olbricht opposed it.

Councilor Brian Chirichiello, a real estate agent, did not vote, citing potential dealings with Gagnon. The tie vote meant the proposal was defeated.

Now, residents are trying to get the matter back on the council agenda. And at least one councilor, Wetherbee, says he’s willing to hear the matter again.

“I’m willing to make the leap of faith,” he told reporter Julie Huss. “Let’s see what can be explored. We can’t get to that point unless we take ownership of the dam.”

Others disagreed. Olbricht said the town should not make this type of deal a priority.

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