Sept. 14–After crews discovered a buried fuel-oil storage tank recently, a Keene City Council committee recommended Thursday night to channel more money into the repaving project for the Gilbo East parking lot.
“I have some good news for you tonight, as well as a little bit of bad news,” City Engineer Donald Lussier told the finance, organization and personnel committee.
The bad news: Contractors uncovered a 10,000-gallon fuel-oil storage tank while excavating the parking lot, which sits next to Lindy’s Diner. The tank contained about 500 to 1,000 gallons of oil and water.
The underground discovery wasn’t a welcome one, since the city had to spend thousands of dollars removing the tank.
Construction crews found the tank about two weeks ago while continuing the repaving and reconstruction of the parking lot. The project, which began in July, will transform the lot with added sidewalks, new lighting and a switch from parking meters to kiosks.
Lussier told the committee that city staff doesn’t know anything about the storage tank, which he said isn’t documented anywhere.
“We’ve looked through all of the city records,” he said. “The best we can tell is that tank predated the city acquiring the property in 1957, so it was just buried and forgotten in time.”
Crews removed the tank Tuesday morning and sent it to a scrapyard, Lussier told The Sentinel.
Lussier’s good news for the committee was the tank hadn’t leaked any fuel into the soil, as was an initial concern.
The parking lot overhaul had remained within its original budget of just over $300,000, but the tank removal and clean-up tacked on extra expenses the city didn’t anticipate. As a result, Lussier asked the committee to reallocate $25,000 from money intended for rehabilitation work on Jordan Road. That project, which was completed in June, finished with $46,696 left in its budget.
The five-member committee voted unanimously Thursday night to recommend moving the funds to the Gilbo Avenue parking lot reconstruction. The additional money will cover the removal, cleaning and disposal of the tank, as well as refilling the hole, according to Lussier.
He assured the councilors the project is on target to be completed by the end of October, though the new lighting might have to be installed later. He said the bases of the lamps will be constructed in the parking lot, but there’s a chance the fixtures might not arrive until after October.
Sierra Hubbard can be reached at 355-8546 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SierraHubbardKS.
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