Whately Town Hall renovation proposal is $1.3M

  • The Whately town post office and Town Hall. Recorder File photo

  • Whately Town Hall. Recorder File Photo/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Published: 3/30/2017 1:58:32 PM

WHATELY — The Municipal Building Committee has put forward a $1.3 million Town Hall renovation proposal to be voted on at this year’s annual town meeting.

“We hope to go to construction this fall. It has come down to a discussion of whether or not to fund the project,” Selectman Fred Orloski said Monday, noting that the town would be responsible for about $650,000, dependent on state aid. A public vote is required to make funding available.

To that end, town officials will host an informational meeting Monday, April 3, at 7 p.m. at the elementary school. Annual town meeting is April 25.

Monday’s meeting is scheduled to cover a variety of topics, including final plans, funding sources, and warrant articles. The project’s intent is to preserve the Chestnut Plain Road municipal building’s historic nature.

According to town assessment records, the 7,400-square-foot Town Hall was built in 1844. Since Whately’s town offices moved to Sandy Lane a few years ago, the building has remained vacant.

Orloski stressed the project will not increase property taxes, and said design work is currently wrapping up.

Town officials have proposed paying for the project through a combination of town, private and state money.

Specifically, at least $90,000 has been raised through private fundraising, with a $150,000 goal. The town has requested $550,000 in state funding so far, says a news statement about the project.

The remaining money, “beginning with $340,000 in currently available” Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, will be requested from town constituents, the statement continues. That request will include $315,000 from last year’s $1.2 million American Tower Corp. cell tower sale, which must be spent on capital projects.

Voter approval is required to tap into both CPA and capital improvement funding sources.

Renovations call for updates to the building’s plumbing system, energy-efficient insulation and windows, heating and cooling units, a small addition in the back to “accommodate new stairs” and a platform lift.

Also outlined in the project is a redesigned ramp to improve handicapped accessibility, new fire and smoke detectors, and revamped parking.

If approved, the result will be a community space for performances, exhibitions and events on the second floor.

Renovations will also create a permanent, secure and climate-controlled home for the Whately Historical Society and Museum, which intends to move to the Town Hall from the Center School.

If the Historical Society moves, the Center School would be freed up to either be sold or repurposed.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo


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