Town buildings succumb to winter

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Wed., Feb. 16, 2011
The Pavilion in J.B. Williams Park, after the roof collapsed under the weight of the heavy winter snows. Photos by Steve Smith.
The Pavilion in J.B. Williams Park, after the roof collapsed under the weight of the heavy winter snows. Photos by Steve Smith.

The pavilion at J.B. Williams Park was one of the local casualties of this winter's heavy snow.

Used for many private functions – mainly company outings, parties, and family reunions – the structure was erected in 1968, shortly after the park land was acquired by the town, in conjunction with the Glastonbury Jaycees and Rotary organizations, according to Parks and Rec. Director Ray Purtell.

The 40-foot by 40-foot structure succumbed to the weight of the snow sometime after the second large snowfall in January.

Town officials said insurance will cover the cost of the complete replacement. The brick chimney structure, which is still standing but heavily damaged, will need to be replaced as well, Purtell said, adding that the town is in the process of working on the design of the new structure, which will be similar to the former, in the hopes that the new pavilion can be built in time for usage in the warmer seasons.

Typically, about 130 reservations of the pavilion are made per year between May 1 and October 31.

“It's a popular location,” Purtell said, adding that the new structure may not be identical, but within similar parameters to the former structure.

Purtell said the exact time the structure fell is not known because the parks were not used by many people after the heavy snowfall.

The Glastonbury Youth and Family Services building also had structural damage, which will require the staff to relocate operations.

The Town Council also approved a transfer of $250,000 from the undesignated fund balance to the Physical Services and Parks and Rec. departments for winter storm-related costs.

“It's probably an understatement to say this has been a challenging winter so far,” said Town Manager Richard Johnson. “Not only have we dealt with highly unusual snowfalls...the other thing is the significant pressure the snow is putting on structures.”

Johnson said roofing system issues have called for assessments by structural engineers at the Hubbard Street office, and the Youth and Family Services will be relocated to the offices at 232 Willams St., where the Board of Education offices formerly were, for a period of up to six months.

“We don't budget for years like this,” Johnson said, adding that the town is about $90,000 over budget for the cleanup, and the overtime budget is over by about $75,000. He said that typically, when winter budgets run over, monies can be moved between accounts later in the spring, but with such large overages this early in the year, the transfer was necessary.

“Hopefully, it's got it out of its system for February and March,” Johnson said of the winter weather.

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