Marion Town Hall Renovation Discussed

A moment of silence for those injured in the Boston Marathon explosions opened the Marion Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday evening.  Chairman Steve Cushing prompted the moment, where all stood.

The Town House Advisory Committee, led by Chairman Jay Ryder, addressed the Board.  Without a written proposal, Ryder and the Committee discussed their findings.

Three recommendations were proposed. The first was a complete renovation of the Town House to bring it up to current standards. The second finding was to demolish the 1894 portion of the building and rebuild with a more efficient addition. The third option was a new Town House, to be built at a location not yet determined.

The Committee noted that it would cost less to renovate than to rebuild. After much discussion, it was agreed that the town needs a town planner.

“We are looking at one building, when there are over 42 structures in town … from a gazebo to the police station,” said Selectman Dickerson.

When the discussion centered on the demolition of the Town House, Selectman John Henry objected.

“It would be an insult to Elizabeth Taber, who gave this building to Tabor Academy and eventually came to become our Town House,” said Henry.

Committee member Rico Ferrari recommended that the town hold another meeting so that citizens could understand and ask questions about the issues at hand.

“You’ve done a great job here,” said Selectman Dickerson to the Committee.

After a lengthy discussion, the BOS and the Town House Advisory Committee agreed to meet with the town Finance Committee and come up with a proposal for the fall town meeting warrant.

In other business, the town awarded bids for surplus property totaling $7,470.33.

A request from American Tower Company to extend a lease on their cell tower located on Benson Brook Road was discussed. The Board decided to take no action until more information on the request was received and reviewed.

The BOS agreed to award Loughton Construction Company of Raynham the contract for $51,583 to repair the ceiling at the Marion Natural History Museum, located above the Elizabeth Tabor Library on Spring Street. $4,000 of the total will be paid by the museum as an upgrade to have a portion of the flooring as hardwood instead of a rug area. Dawson said that the work will take approximately two to three weeks to complete.

The BOS appointed Jim Stewart to the Tree and Parks Committee.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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