BERLIN - The Town Council is expected to vote tonight to award the contract for improvements to the walking trails at the old Pistol Creek Golf Course. The project is being funded through grant money.
“This area is important because it is accessible in many ways,” said Economic Development Coordinator Jim Mahoney.
The town received the $120,000 grant, with a 25 percent local match, in 2015 from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
B&W Paving and Landscaping was the low bidder at $248,532, in response to a bid document based on unit prices, so the scope of the project can be reduced to fit the budget.
Handicapped-parking upgrades and making the trails compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act - by adjusting the grades of hills on the north side of the course - will be part of the upgrades, Mahoney told The Herald Friday. Repairing sections of trails in the poorest condition until the budget runs out is also included.
“These will be the first handicapped-accessible trails” in Berlin, Mahoney said. He said families, bikers, cross country cycling teams and more use them.
The trails run along former cart paths on the course, not fully wooded areas as other trails do, make them more appealing to users, he said.
The town purchased the golf course in 2008 for $5.5 million to stop a New Jersey developer from building 170 condominiums there. The developer had bought the course, which had shut down, in 2005 for $2.87 million.
The land was previously undeveloped open space, Mahoney said. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Simeon North made pistols there. A portion of the land is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In past years, a skate park and athletic fields have been proposed, but nothing has come to fruition. Those ideas won’t be negated with these improvements, Mahoney said, as the improvements will take place mostly on the east side of the property behind Savage Hill Road homes. The athletic fields were proposed for the west end, Mahoney said.
The funding for the town’s $29,000 portion will come from a payment in lieu of space account, which generates funds when developers pay a fee instead of donating part of their land to the town to maintain open space.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers of Town Hall, 240 Kensington Road.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.