Government Buildings & Safety

Department Mission:

We are dedicated to insure that all of our buildings and their grounds meet/or exceed federal and state inspection requirements; are operating in an efficient and safe means; and that proper preventive maintenance programs are in place. In addition, we strive to make certain that our parks and recreation grounds are clean, safe and present the town in a positive and beautiful way.

  • Town Office
  • Library
  • Senior Center
  • Police Department
  • Fire Department
  • Highway Department
  • Meeting House
  • Museum
  • Transfer Station
  • Water Treatment Plant
  • Waste Water Plant
  • Beach House
  • Cozy Corner
  • Williams Field Park
  • Canaan Street Beach
  • Main Street Commons & Islands
  • Meeting House Common
  • Wells Annex Shed

The Town of Canaan enforces the laws of the State of New Hampshire on serious violations of the State’s Junk Yard law. See the Town of Canaan Junk Yard Enforcement Policy for what constitutes a junk yard, when enforcement will take place, and what the penalties will be.

Enforcement Decision Tree

flow chart to determine enforcement on junkyards

The Building & Safety Committee focuses on safety & building projects to ensure that we meet legal requirements and provide cost effective repairs and updates for the town.

2020

For a variety of reasons, including finance, Covid-19, and lack of availability of time and contractors, work on government buildings was limited. Completion of Orange Brook stream bank repair. Contractors rebuilt the stream bank that was destroyed by the July 2019 flood.

2019

There were a number of significant repairs in 2019. The electrical service was installed at the Wells Annex Cemetery at a cost of $2,000. Much of the electrical facilities were replaced on the Village Common at a cost of $2,000. Powered overhead doors at various locations were repaired 4 times at a cost of $3,000.
An analysis of the air quality was performed in the Town Office and mold was found in the carpets and the offices were heavily laden with dust from the carpets. In addition, the heating in the back office was changed. It was not possible to get the heat in the back office above 60 degrees without using small heater boxes. The cost of the air quality work in 2019 was $3,000 and was only about a third of the total health safety engineering cost. The cost of the heat and flooring to remediate the problems was $12,000.

There was another $10,000 in other repairs to buildings and equipment throughout the Town. After the June flood, we were able to develop a strategy to implement most of the flood mitigation plans that have been developed. These are the plans that were developed in 2017 and 2018.

  1. Replace the Transfer Station Bridge with a 70 foot wide clear span. Each opening now is no more than 10 feet.
  2. Replace the trestles behind Williams Field and Dale Barney’s house with 90 foot clear span bridges that will pass 50% more water through the openings. The current trestles are support by many pilings that block river flow and back water up into the Village.
  3. Remove old trestle pilings (no trestle left) along Graceville Road.
  4. Rebuild the Route 4 bridge by Canaan Village Pizza to increase the width of the water flow under Route 4.
  5. Replace Potato Road Bridge and elevate Potato Road above flood elevation and install an additional bridge that will let water pass under the higher road from the field on the upstream side to the field on the down-stream side.
  6. Flood proof the sewer pump station that is between Williams Field and Depot Street.
  7. Reinforce the banks of Orange Brook to prevent flooding of the race track and create emergency overflow areas.

Of these, we are in the process of securing $7.5 million to complete all of these elements of the original plan except for #4, a new bridge over Route 4. Canaan’s share of this cost would be $115,000 and this is already available. These changes will reduce almost all Potato Road flooding, Canaan Village flooding and minimize Orange brook flooding (unless another dam breaks).

2018

At the Senior Center, floors were replaced in the bathroom, hallway, and reception areas. The “Autoware” parking lot was paved, and outside lights were installed.

A see-saw that given by donation was instaled at Williams Field. Heating lamps were added to the Attendants’ Buildings at the Transfer Station, and a roof was built over the trash compactor.

A new cell tower was put into service. At the Meeting House painting was done and benches were repaired and reinstalled on the green. The Elliot Field dugout was repaired by volunteers from MTD.

New Message Sign aquired for the Police Department – Rescue and Fire Department. Materials were donated by Competition Complex, and labor for installation was donated from all Departments including Highway. A storage shed was installed at the Wells Annex Cemetery.

After 18 months of study and analysis, a plan was designed to reduce flooding of residences and commercial space in Canaan Village. The proposed mitiagation plan can be viewed here.

aerial photo of flood area

2017

We created indoor plumbing for the Transfer Station attendants. With the installation of fencing and wiring for the lights, Elliott is now completely finished and ready for use.


We replaced rotted clapboards at the Meeting House and installed an alarm system.

We painted the back of the Library, the back of the Museum, and the front of the Town Office, and the front of the Meeting House. We re-shingled the back roof of the Senior Center, replaced the cupolas, and regraded the parking lot. We installed new doors at the Fire Station, repaired doors at the Highway Garage, and installed a new door and door opener at the front of the Town Office. We installed new aeration equipment at the Sewer Plant and new pumps at the Sewer Pump Station.

2016

There have been a few government buildings projects this year.


The ball field at the new Elliott Field is complete except for the fencing and bases. The lights have been wired but the fixtures need to be installed. Of course we have a Notice of Deficiency on wetland and stream alteration which we will be addressing.

The Senior Center received a new, efficient heating system. The system is gas. Grafton County Senior Citizens Council received a grant to install a new furnace. The Town paid to install a new underground propane tank and connect it to the kitchen and furnace. The new system will cost the Center much less for fuel.

The Autoware property had additional remediation to remove petroleum products in the soil. The old building was removed and the lot was leveled and compacted for paving next year. About 30 new parking spaces will be added to serve the Senior Center, the Library and the Town Office.


A new handicapped access ramp was built on the west side of the Meeting House and new historic wrought iron railings were installed on the South and East doors to the Meeting House. Seven sets of sashes have been restored so far. There are many more to go. New corner boards were installed on the Meeting House this fall and the front door will be repaired over the winter. The lights for the Meeting House bell tower are also being replaced.

Canaan Hall is getting additional florescent lights and a rebuild of the large garage door at the end of the building. This work is being shared by the Town and the Track.

The EOC is currently being fitted out as an Emergency Operations Center with extensive audiovisual, computer and communications equipment.

The Town is about to replace the front door of the Town Office with an electric door opener. The elevation has already been adjusted to remove any surface impediments to entry.


A new recycling shed at the transfer station was completed this summer. Volunteers moved bleachers from the Canaan MotorClub to Mascoma Valley Regional High School.

An electrical storm late this summer destroyed communications and computer systems. The damage was covered by insurance but the replacement took two months and more than $30,000.

2015

In 2015, Bob Scott and his crew have been working in their free moments to complete the Elliott Field move. The parking lot is complete. All of the light poles for night play have been set. The conduit has been installed.

The next steps will be to install a concrete pad for the home plate scoring booth. The booth is now stored at the Canaan Gravel pit and will be moved to the pad once the pad is complete. This booth will allow for the connection of the electricity. Following that, an electrician will complete the pulling of wires and reinstallation of the light fixtures and junction boxes.

After this is completed, they will install the jock sand in the infield area and seed the out-field areas. The final phase will be to move the grandstands from the old Canaan Speedway from their storage area at the transfer station and install them for use at both Elliott Field and Williams Field.

meters at wasterwater plant

Another project underway in 2015 was the installation of new meters at the Canaan Wastewater Plant. The Town takes septage from private homes from Canaan as well as other towns. It also takes leachate from Lakeview Condominiums in Enfield. The meters will allow for more accurate record keeping and billing. The water and sewer superintendent is installing this system.

2015 building and grounds projects also included a focus on the Meeting House. The Meeting House Preservation Committee is raising money to restore windows in the Meeting House. Many of the windows have broken glass, poor caulking and need paint. Each sash is being pulled, photographed and sent for repairs. Al Posnanski, Joe Frazier and Dave”s Glass are undertaking this work. 

The Preservation Committee is also planning on building a new handicapped ramp at the rear of the building.

dimensional sketch of planned ramp

2014

Completion of Safety Complex Addition for FAST Squad, Police, and Fire Department

In 2014 work was completed on the FAST Squad addition. The general contractor, MTD organized the construction and the footings were poured by Labine. The construction process was managed by the FAST Squad with financing through Mascoma Savings Bank.
 
While the finished building, which houses the F.A.S.T. Squad, the Police Department and the Fire Department is owned by the Town of Canaan, all of the funding and construction was the responsibility of the FAST Squad.



This addition for the F.A.S.T. Squad allows for a third ambulance as well as two small bunk rooms for 24 hour coverage by the FAST Squad. Additional space is being used by the Police Department for a larger booking area and holding cell with a bathroom, and a larger evidence room. In addition, a large public meeting room was created where the former police garage was located.

On August 15, 2014 more than a hundred people joined F.A.S.T. Squad members in taking tours of the facility and enjoying refreshments donated by Chappy Kilgore and Susan Ignacio. Chief Sam Frank acted as emcee and thanked more than thirty corporate and individual donors who made the complex financially possible. The facility was dedicated to those volunteers and donors. A number of community volunteers were also recognized for their labor in completing the job as was MTD Construction.

Elliott Field

As part of the Canaan Speedway sale, negotiations were made to move the location of Elliott Field. Gerngross, the new owner of the Speedway, funded the cost of moving the ball field, lights, buildings, and fencing to its new site behind Canaan Elementary School. For the first time, this ball field will be located on public land which will assure its continued use. The Canaan Highway Department started work on relocating Elliott Field in October. A large new parking lot was created to serve the new field off of Canaan Street. The ball field will be just over the brook at the end of the parking lot. You can see the area through the trees that has been plowed up in preparation for installing the field in the Spring. The field will have lights, dugouts, and a scoring booth installed in the Spring as well.

Meeting House

The Meeting House Preservation Commission had two projects underway in 2014 for the Meeting House. The Commission approved the replacement of light fixtures in the main hall and in the balcony. Money was raised, and the lights purchased over the summer. They will be installed over the winter.

Their second project is to start the restoration of the windows. The first two have been removed and sent for repairs. Funding is still needed for this project, and the preservation commission is seeking contributions. Contributers may have their gift memorialized on window plaques, in a similar manner in which donations given for the pew boxes were done. To donate, contact a member of the Meeting House Commission, or send a check to the Town of Canaan with a memo, “for Meeting House Windows.”

Autoware

The Town currently owns the Autoware property by tax deed with the right of redemption held by Autoware. We are looking to acquire this property by grants and gifts. The reasons are three fold: To add parking spaces for the Town Office, the Library and the Senior Center (the property goes behind the Senior Center); To improve the appearance of the Village; and To create a retail store front that is self funded and markets local food, local arts and crafts and local businesses. 

Autoware building
This project would not use any tax dollars and would be self funded through rent and fees.

2013

Canaan Hall

In 2013 Canaan Speedway was purchased by Tillman Gerngross to create a road rally style race track. As part of the acquisition, Tillman wanted to preserve Canaan Hall as a community resource. In an exchange for a waiver of taxes on the building and the small parcel of land that it sits on, Gerngross has leased the Canaan Hall to the Town for community use on a year to year basis. The transaction took place on November 1st.

In the first two months, the Hall has hosted a number of events and raised enough money to heat it all winter. There was a fundraising dinner for recreation, several weekend Farmers and Crafters Markets, public meetings for the regional health center, several Christmas parties, a wedding, a memorial service, a community Thanksgiving Dinner and an athletic banquet.

The Hall will raise the money necessary to fund its operation or we will discontinue our use. Future plans include dinners, recreation programs, arts and crafts, music programs, arts, crafts, flea markets, farmers markets (off season) and private events. It is available for rent and alcohol is allowed. Contact the Town Office for information.

Fast Squad Building

The Town Office worked with the FAST Squad to reach an agreement that was helpful to all parties in creating a new FAST Squad building that allowed FAST to add another ambulance and generate revenue from discretionary private transport of patients.

The result is a new building serving police and FAST that is funded by FAST and owned by the Town of Canaan without any financial obligations. The Town and FAST entered into a long term contract to keep the cost of ambulance service stable over the next 20 years. Part of the plan will include a large public meeting room that will benefit the entire community as well as a new safer holding cell and more storage.

Clean Up of Junk Yards and Abandoned Buildings

Several buildings that had been abandoned by the owners were cleaned out and sold to restore those properties to use and to the tax rolls. Enforcement action continued against three junk yards in the Town.

Skating Rink

For the second year, a skating rink was created at Williams Field. Unlike last year, the rink is composed of reusable parts allowing it to be set up each year.

hockey player on Williams Field Rink
Painting

More than $20,000 worth of painting was done at the Meeting House and the Union Academy Museum. Three sides of the museum and the two long sides of the Meeting House were painted with a very tough primer under the surface paint to keep the paint from peeling for a longer period.

Telephone System

A new telephone system was installed this summer that allows for extensive flexibility and portability of phone service. The system includes the ability to directly switch calls between all departments & buildings and move extensions assigned to a particular employee from building to building as needed.

2012

The Buildings and Safety Department is actively involved in managing the safety of Town operations. The Health & Safety Committee, composed primarily of employees, meets every three months to monitor work conditions and to organize employee safety training. 

During 2012, the Town underwent a town wide safety audit by the NH Department of Labor and numerous corrections were made to the operating environment.

Safety Audits

Over the past 4 years, the Safety Committee has performed self assessments in every Department to identify problems and correct them before there is a State audit. 

The Safety Committee also looks at Workers Compensation statistical data for Canaan so that we can better manage known worker risks.

Every year, the Safety Committee organizes up to six Health & Safety Training Programs for all Town employees.

Williams Field Playground
Senior Center – New Elevator
plan for elevator

The Senior Center has a new elevator. The Grafton County Senior Citizens Council uses the Indian River Grange building for their senior center which includes meal preparation, congregate meals, operation of the food pantry, outreach programs, transportation services and public meetings. The Town owns the building and we are responsible for all repairs to the structure of the building.

Meeting House

The meeting house tower has been restored. The new beams have been installed and the Cupola replaced on the bell tower. Final repairs were completed in the early Fall of 2012. Now the focus turns to preservation – and we still need your help! Learn more on the Meeting House Page.

Click here. to view the video provided by Carol Bergeron of the tower being lifted off by a crane. 

Transfer Station – Change Hauling System to Save Money

The Town has completing the restructuring of the transfer station begun using the live floor trailer. This new system will save the town nearly $15,000 a year.

Learn More on the Transfer Station Page!

Rapid Infiltration Beds – Wastewater Plant – Increase Capacity 36%

The Highway Department completed the installation of new rapid infiltration beds at the wastewater plant in September 2012. The new beds will increase the sewer capacity by 36% allowing us to remove the moratorium on the connection of new users.

Highway Department Salt Shed

The Town Highway Department salt shed has been completed in the Town’s gravel pit. The new facility is made up of two large fabric structures that protect our winter sand and salt from snow and freezing water. The shed on right is used to store all of our winter sand which you can see in one of the photos taken from the back. That sand pile is well over 20 feet deep inside of the shed. The shed on the right is used to store salt and will be used as a protected space to mix the dry sand and salt together before applying the mix on the roads. This process should reduce the amount of salt used and keep the sand from freezing into large clumps that will not pass through the spreaders. The shed will also reduce water pollution from rain running off the salt pile and bring us into compliance with state and federal law. The total cost of this project was more than $120,000 with the major share coming from FEMA repayments for repairs after Hurricane Irene.

Who do I contact for general questions regarding town buildings?
Town Administrator: Mike Samson. He can be reached 603 523-4501 X5.

Who do I call in case of emergency?
All major fire, health or police needs should be directed to 911! If you have an emergency or safety regarding a building or grounds you should call & page the numbers below. Examples of these emergencies include doors locked or unlocked, toilets, sinks or water issues, trees down, electrical issues, etc.

How do I rent or use a town building?
Each town building has an appointed group or individual to mange this function. If you are unsure who to call, you can contact the Town office at 523-4501×105 to get assistance.

I noticed some people vandalizing town property, who do I contact?
Call 911 or the Canaan Police directly at 523 -7784. Do not take any action yourself.

I went to the park and found someone had vandalized town property, who do I contact?
Call the town administrator at 523-4501 x5.

Why haven’t some buildings been fixed or painted?
Funding is generally the major issue we face when trying to repair or build new. The town accepts contributions for many of our historic buildings; call the town administrator to learn how you can help. We are currently working with the budget committee volunteer groups and the CIP (Capital Improvement Committee) to put together a plan to fund many of these major projects.