ANDOVER — Three public information sessions on the upcoming Special Town Meeting will be held to provide an overview of Town Manager Andrew Flanagan’s recommendation as to how the town should spend its portion of the $80 million settlement with Columbia Gas.
Flanagan said the recommended plan was developed by his team in conjunction with an emergency management working group, which he said was the “best equipped team” to determine how to use the resources from the settlement.
The plan, according to Flanagan, was built to provide the opportunity for some flexibility given the uncertainty of some elements of the recovery.
Andover will receive $13.9 million for road repairs, $3.85 million for expense reimbursement and $3 million of the remainder.
The plan, which was presented to the Select Board at a meeting last month, would establish four capital accounts: Restoration and investment in roads, sidewalks and infrastructure; emergency preparedness; deficit reconciliation; and a gas-disaster mitigation reserve account.
Flanagan said everything funded through the accounts was either impacted or used during the Sept. 13 gas disasters.
The plan would fund the restoration of the near 19 miles of roads impacted by the Sept. 13, 2018 gas disasters, as well as sidewalks. That restoration, however, will not be “curb-to-curb” on all impacted streets, only those necessary. Other roads not as severely impacted will get necessary repairs.
Flanagan said it would cost about $750,000 a mile for restorations.
It would appropriate $500,000 for the Senior Center renovation, which would allow for the expansion of bathrooms and the addition of showers and other priorities, such as freezer and refrigeration space.
The plan also includes appropriating funds for about 55 parking spaces at the Senior Center and sidewalk improvements from the Senior Center to downtown, allowing easier access in case of an emergency.
During the gas disaster recovery, Flanagan said Andover spent $400,000 on portable showers at Pomps Pond. He is recommending money from the settlement go toward implementing showers there, allowing the space to easily be turned into an emergency shelter again if necessary.
Another major item to be funded is the remainder of the design for the reconstruction of the intersection at routes 133 and 28 through to the intersection at Beacon Street and Route 133.
Flanagan’s recommendation included putting $500,000 toward the remainder of the design’s cost, which would complete the $750,000 total. The state would then leverage additional state funds for the project.