Gorham councilors Tuesday approved a skate park, balked at sending a $6.1 million school referendum request to voters and raised the cost of burying the dead in town.

The board authorized spending $125,000 in recreation impact fees as a match for private funds to build a skate park on the town-owned Chick property.

“It’ll be a great addition to the town,” Town Council Chairperson Lee Pratt said.

The concrete 7,500-square foot park would be built near the public safety building and Narragansett School. The project requires Planning Board approval.

“The community support has been tremendous,” said resident Tom Dupuis, speaking on behalf of a citizens group that hatched the proposal.

Town Councilor Ron Shepard said a town skatepark has been a long time coming.

“I’m excited to see this come to fruition,” he said.

The council Tuesday,  opting to await results of an ongoing facilities study, the tabled a school request for a referendum seeking to borrow up to more than $6.1 million to pay for a variety of projects. The requested projects include three at Village School, costing $2.3 million; a  maintenance garage at Narragansett School, $552,000;  paving for bus parking at the transportation site, $1.5 million;  increased high school parking, $924,000; and additional funds to repair heat pumps at Gorham Middle School, $819,000.

“Heat pumps need to be replaced,” Town Councilor Jim Hager said.

The council requested additional information from the School Committee about how it could pay for heat pumps.

“We’ll focus on the heat pumps piece for now,” School Committee Chairperson Darryl Wright said.

Voters November 2020 approved borrowing $2.26 million to repair heat pumps at the middle school that opened in 2003, but the lowest bid for the project was $472,000 over budget. The School Department now needs another $819,000 because of rising costs.

The Town Council upped fees the town charges for a variety of permits and services, including the gravesite fee which is now $100 more or $500. Fees for signs, small structure demolition and building permits also were increased, the first time they have been raised since 2008.

The firearms ordinance also has been update to add the Cherry Hill property off Main Street, Lavoie Pumptrack near the middle school and the Gorham Industrial Park to the list of areas where discharge of firearms is prohibited. Violators of the firearms ordinance can be fined from $300 to $5,000.

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