Scituate residents appear eager to begin implementing the town's master plan, which includes building renovations, potential construction, and the relocation of many town departments.
During a public meeting about the master plan on Monday, more than 100 people showed up to voice their concerns, hopes, and press Scituate officials forward on the issue.
“Most of the discussion was productive,” said Selectman Tony Vegnani. “Most people thought that there was a need for the improvements in the buildings we were talking about. There were some sects concerned with their particular area, but we made it clear it’s not a piecemeal situation, it’s a bigger picture plan.”
The conversation was moderated by Franklin Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting, who recently went through a similar review of public buildings in his town.
In Franklin, the process took seven to eight years to get all of the facilities up and operational, Vegnani said, a time frame Scituate plans to follow.
“Obviously, some will be quicker....all of that will be figured out by engineering and logistics people,” Vegnani said.
The most vocal groups attending the meeting were that of seniors and the parents of middle school students.
The issue of a senior center has been debated for some time, with over two dozen seniors even showing up for a walk-in period during a selectmen’s meeting in May pushing the issue.
Likewise, parents remain concerned about the state of the Gates Intermediate School, which has a laundry list of things needing attention.
Although the first part of a $65,000 feasibility study, funded by Community Preservation Act funds, showed the 1916 building had good bones, many things need work.
Vegnani said the school was working to move quickly on both things, and hoped to have $375,000, which approved at town meeting, in hand within the next few weeks to start the townwide structural study of several town buildings.
Elsewhere, the town is using leftover money from the Gates Feasibility Study to look at the space allocation inside the building.
The town has also been speaking with the Massachusetts School Building Authority on how it might play a role in any renovations.
“The process is moving along. The next steps will be to get the school and start using some of that money allocated at Town Meeting to do schematics and engineering and actual plans formed that will say, 'Here’s what we’re going to do. We’ll move this here and this is what it will look like and this is what it will cost,' ” Vegnani said.
The hope is to have plans ready for a vote by next Town Meeting.
Overall, at a selectmen meeting a night after the public hearing, selectmen encouraged people to be patient.
“It’s a huge project, it’s going to take some time, but we want to do it right,” said Selectman Shawn Harris.
“Everyone agrees, something has to be done,” selectman Jo Norton said.