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Options begin to crystalize for Pier 44

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  March 21, 2012 05:08 PM

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Scituate’s Pier 44 Study Committee hope to submit its final phase 1 plan to selectmen by April 3, detail possible next steps for the waterfront community center.

Already, the town has made $65,000 worth of repairs to the building with money left over from the MBTA Greenbush mitigation funds, which also were used to purchase the building for $1.87 million in 2010.

Since then, the town has been renting the building out to different groups, everything from the Bridal Showcases, which will be in the center on Sunday, to Council on Aging health workshops. Although that has brought in approximately $3,000, that funding has been used to help pay for maintenance of the building, which is not yet in the budget.

For the long term, however, the Pier 44 Building Options and Feasibility Study Committee has three suggestions for what the town can do with the property.

“We researched all the zoning, environmental, flood plain regulations. We had several public outreach events such as we did an online survey with the public where they could answer questions and provide input with what they would like to see on that site,” said Ed DiSalvio, chair of the committee.

The result is a three-pronged approach, and the town can investigate some or all of the aspects in a cost and engineering analysis set for Phase 2.

Of the options, the top preference was to have open park space at the location. The second preference was for a community center with combined senior/recreational/town purposes. Third, residents wanted to see the site have some sort of maritime use.

“We combined the maritime use…could be a combo with the other preferences…it wouldn’t have to be only maritime. We could still have a dock facilities on the property and still have a community center and the park,” DiSalvio said.

Along those lines, the report also looks at the options of keeping the existing building as is, adding on to the building, or demolishing it and rebuilding.

Each proposal has pros and cons, DiSalvio said, and all that information will be provided to selectmen so the town can make the proper choices moving forward.

As for the cost of these options, that will be part of phase 2.

“Phase 2 is developing whatever options [the selectmen want]…they may pick all three for further development. Phase 2 is getting into the nuts of bolts of programming; getting the architectural schematic plans what the building would look like, and it also includes looking at the financials involved….

“We’d be doing cost estimates in the Phase 2 report, financing of the project. We’d be looking at revenue generation to offset the cost of maintaining the building. It’s more into the design/development/financials of the selected options. That would be presented in another report,” DiSalvio said

As much as the first phase involved public outreach, the second will take the community’s input in its stride, with a strong public presence through presentations and surveys.

Although the second phase will include a lot of engineering work, DiSalvio said that his committee has several professionals who will help determine construction costs and engineering plans.

“Probably we’ll want to bring in a professional cost estimator because of the importance of those umbers. But we’ve had a strong group of talented people that can handle majority of the tasks, and there will be some professional supplementation of skill sets,” he said.

Any funding for Phase 2, which DiSalvio doesn’t expect to cost much, will come from the remaining money in the MBTA mitigation budget.

As for a timeline, things are still up in the air.

“If its one option, it will be a much abbreviated schedule. Or all three, we’ll be doing schematic design to do all three options…[[but] potentially we could get going during the month of April,” DiSalvio said..

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