West Newbury considers options to save the building |


WEST NEWBURY – City officials continue to investigate the process required to preserve a treasured local monument by selling it or issuing a long-term lease for the building.

The idea would be to bring a plan to next spring’s annual municipal meeting to sell the iconic Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Bids to restore the aging building to its former glory have far exceeded the $ 1.5 million voters allocated from current and future Community Preservation Act funding two years ago.

A second option proposed is to raze the building and create a military memorial park. Restoring the exterior and using the building to store historical documents of the city were also suggested, but the cost of climate control to protect the elements was seen as prohibitive by some people.

The application on the annual tenure would include clearly written retention guidelines that the new owner must agree to before the sale can take place. A fully developed restriction would be removed during negotiations between the city and the potential buyer.

City Manager Angus Jennings consults with Lynne Spencer of the architectural firm Spencer, Sullivan and Vogt to get a better idea of ​​what it would cost to develop the legally binding guidelines and restrictions.

He is also considering bringing in KP Law, the town’s legal team. Wendy Reed, selected member of the board of directors, intends to inform the community preservation committee of the interest of her board of directors to potentially use the administrative money from the Preservation Act. the community for expenses.

This money can be used at the discretion of the committee; a vote of the municipal assembly is not required.

The committee will hold its annual public information meeting Thursday at 7:30 pm Memorial Hall and a discussion of the newly approved West Newbury Housing Trust are also on the agenda. In-person and virtual participation is possible.

Although Jennings does not yet know the cost, he said it was customary for municipalities to contribute money as part of a deal such as the one under discussion. The select committee believes that this could considerably complicate the process for some voters.

The historic neo-Gothic style structure was built as a Civil War Memorial in 1900. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Of the $ 1.5 million allocated, $ 250,000 in Community Preservation Act money was for design services. Of this amount, $ 122,000 was spent.

The remaining allowance was to be a loan from future Community Preservation Act money. With plans for the building now uncertain, Jennings believes spending approved for the previous restoration project should cease.

In other cases, board members have discussed possible uses of the $ 704,000 in US federal funding for the bailout.

Big-ticket items mentioned included water infrastructure, the Middle Street Bridge project, and emergency stormwater work. Funding must be used by December 31, 2024.

President Rick Parker opened the public session by announcing the passing of former librarian Kay Gove. He recognized Gove as “an icon in the library” who worked “tirelessly and endlessly, it seemed”.

He also mentioned the recent death of the retired police sergeant. Chuck Courtemanche, highlighting his many years of service to the community.

Carly Ramos has been appointed to the Cultural Council and Pat Reeser to the Community Preservation Committee. Parker thanked the two for stepping up their efforts, noting that volunteering is a great way to give back to the community.

Volunteers are still needed to fill many municipal positions. They include the Climate Change Resilience Committee, Conservation Commission, Aging Council, Cultural Council, Finance Committee, GAR Memorial Library Board, Historic District Commission, Historical Commission. , the Mill Pond Committee, the Trees Committee and the Zoning Appeal Committee.

To sit on these boards, contact the chosen board office at 978-363-1100, ext. 113, for more information or to submit a completed appointment request to www.wnewbury.org.

Applications can be emailed to the City Manager’s office at [email protected] or dropped off at the office located at 1910 Town Office Building, 381 Main St. Copies of the application are also available at the City Clerk’s office.

The annual holiday tree lighting and Christmas carols will take place on the training ground on December 2 at 6:30 pm As he has done in the past, former select Glenn Kemper will provide cookies and hot chocolate.


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