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Scituate defers plans for major repairs to community building

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 7, 2013 03:18 PM

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Scituate officials have decided to hold off on any major improvements at the Harbor Community Building, pending a decision on what to do with the aging structure.

Facilities manager Kevin Kelly suggested $175,000 of work for the building, previously known as Pier 44, at a meeting Tuesday night. While officials approved bathroom and roofing fixes, the carpet, sliding partitions, and other updates will have to wait.

“If some things were small money and we end up tearing it down in a year anyway [that’s ok], but I don’t want to put $50,000 into a single ticket item that’s not immediately necessary right now if we’re going to start over,” said Selectman Rick Murray after the meeting.

Scituate officials have been contemplating what to do with the building since they purchased it in 2010 with $1.8 million of the money given as mitigation for the Greenbush MBTA station.

In September 2012, selectmen decided to look into turning the building into a community center, charging a Feasibility Study Committee intent on understanding the building to investigate the cost of renovating the building or constructing a new building there.

With approximately $700,000 left in mitigation money, Murray said the town has the funds to do upgrades right away, but it doesn’t make sense if the building won’t be there for long.

Murray also noted that there are so many unknowns with the Master Plan, which would turn the Gates Middle School into a new town hall with other community assets.

“But we wanted to move ahead with some of the obvious things that would make it better right now,” Murray said.

According to Murray, the roof would be paid for with insurance coverage. The bathrooms would be repaired using existing mitigation funds. Murray wasn’t sure of the cost of either fixes, and Facilities Manager Kelly could not be reached for comment.

While the building will get some minor upgrades, the policy for using the building hasn’t changed. Town groups are still the only ones allowed to use the space.

“Particularly after storms, i'ts not in the best shape. We can’t look people in the eye and say, ‘How was your wedding reception?’ Not that that’s our intent, but … we’re using it to help out the people who need it right away and we want to put the minimal amount we need to put in and keep it in a nice enough fashion while we figure out what’s going on.”

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