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Score one for Yankee ingenuity

To the editor:

Often we hear the stories of government projects gone awry, multiplying time and dollars to the taxpayers of New Hampshire. This is a different kind of story. A story of good old Yankee ingenuity, something we don’t see much of in an era of big government trying to fix all of our problems.

We have all heard of the “Red Listed” bridges. These are the ones most in need of repair. Every community in New Hampshire has at least a few. In Wilton, where I live, we have five Red List bridges. One of those bridges is on Frye Mill Road and crosses the Burton Pond Outlet. It is a small road that services the two homes tucked up at the end of a typically quaint New England roadway. The state estimate to repair the bridge was over $500,000. The state tries to lessen the burden of bridge repairs by contributing 80 percent of the cost and the local community comes up with the other 20 percent.

Even with this help, that is a lot of money for any community and that’s not the worst part. The state had this repair project scheduled for 2024. Steve Elliot, our road agent, knew that the bridge would not make it that long. So, with a measure of Yankee ingenuity and some Yankee frugality thrown in, Steve came up with a plan to repair the bridge for — get this — less than the 20 percent contribution required by the state repair plan. He did it for about $80,000.

Thank you, Steve. So often, the tendency of people is to look to the federal or state governments to solve our local problems. We forget that the “80 percent” state contribution is really just a return of our money that we sent up to Concord to begin with.

Frank Edelblut

Wilton, candidate for state rep., Hillsb. Dist. 38

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