Officials say Derry road project won't affect Frost Farm
DERRY — A town water and sewer project will come near the Robert Frost Farm but will not negatively impact the property the famed poet called home, according to officials.
A crew working near the farm resulted in some calls of concern last week about the property at 122 Rockingham Road, said Public Works Director Michael Fowler. The work is part of a multiphase project to install water and sewer mains along Rockingham Road and Bypass 28.
Any type of activity near the poet’s former home is cause for concern since the property is considered sacred ground with poetry fans all over the world, said Bill Gleed, manager of the farm.
“The place is a resource for the State of New Hampshire, and it’s a treasure for the world,” Gleed said. “And it’s my job to do my best to make sure it’s treated the way it deserves to be treated — that’s all. It’s a matter of stewardship.”
Gleed was at the farm last week when he noticed the workers near the property.
The crew from American Excavating was working on the east shoulder of Route 28 and had gone near the boundary of the farm, Fowler said. The workers were trimming a few trees to make way for the sewer main to be installed some 9 feet underground, Fowler said.
Callers who phoned the Public Works Department were concerned the work would encroach on property and disturb the historic site, Fowler said.
The project will pass within the designated right-of-way and not diminish the aesthetics or architecture, Fowler said. Crews will work off the shoulder of the road and have plenty of room to maneuver, he said.
“Is the farm going to be affected, and the answer to that is — absolutely not,” Fowler said.
When the work is finished, the only addition will be a manhole cover that will be flush with the ground, Fowler said. It will be installed toward the far northwest corner of the property, at the edge of the driveway. There are already power poles in the area, Fowler said.
“That manhole cover won’t be anything that is going to disturb the value of the farm,” Fowler said.
The cover will weigh several hundred pounds and can’t be lifted by children.
The work near the farm will not begin until mid-September at the earliest, Fowler said. Amy Bassett, public information officer for the state Parks and Recreation Department, said the state is aware of and supports the project.“That’s basically where we are. We are supportive of Derry and the project, but we hadn’t seen the plans,” she said, adding, “I’m sure that will be in the process.”