To the Editor:
I am in full agreement with the arguments laid out by John Waterman in his published letter and to the Marion Selectmen. The Town House Building Committee has put in a lot of work, imagination, and expertise in finding a way to make the Town House safe (after demolishing the 1890 addition) and to shoehorn the existing offices and facilities into the remaining space at the lowest cost possible. However, they have not put anywhere near the same effort into elaborating a “new construction” alternative. This is understandable; the funding that paid for the professional design and costing experts they have been using was specifically restricted to support the “historical preservation” option. There are no funds authorized for design and planning of the alternative “new build” (on former VFW land) option.
The THBC documents distributed last week after the public workshop do not fully recognize the economies that accompany the “new building” option, including those listed in Mr. Waterman’s letter. Besides costing less to build and finance, that option eliminates the substantial cost of a “transition” period when the town offices would have to be housed in rented spaces, with communications rerouted and rewired. Furthermore, as needs in the future change, there is almost no ability to revise or expand the Town House – it will already be tightly packed – except at great expense. A new building, on the other hand, could be designed from the start for flexibility, to maximize the efficiencies of modern technology, and to meet future needs.
The Board of Selectmen must assure that they – and we – get to see two equally well-formed, well thought-out, and accurate options, so that when the question comes before Town Meeting to put our money where our mouth is, both options have been given a fair hearing.
Edmund P. OConnell, Marion
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