2013-11-22 / Front Page

Town hall site list whittled

Questionnaire to gauge residents’ interest in building a new facility
By Alex Acquisto Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — Town Manager Todd Shea updated the board of selectmen on architectural plans for the new town hall Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The selectmen, after a handful of site visits since September in search of a parcel to house the new town hall, have narrowed their selection down to two locations. While the board will not release specific locations, Selectman Velma Jones Hayes disclosed that one parcel is located on Limerick Road, and the other is adjacent to the town garage.

Arundel Town Hall sits on the corner of Limerick and Mountain roads next to Arundel Fire-Rescue. The building’s tight quarters prevent town boards and committees from holding meetings on site.

“It’s small, it’s cramped, and there’s no handicap access. We think it has outlived its useful life,” Shea said of the town hall in July. “We’d like to have the ability to hold our selectmen meetings, town hall meetings and elections right in one building rather than go over to Mildred Day (school) or the fire station with all the voting equipment.”

In the next few weeks, Shea and the board of selectmen plan to compile infor- mation for a questionnaire to be mailed to Arundel residents the first week in December.

The questionnaire will consist of a building layout, an analysis of the current building, preliminary project costs and project siting.

“The plan is to come to an agreement with the board of selectmen as to the best siting . . . so we have that when we go out to have the questionnaire put out,” Shea said. “So people can come to town hall and have something to look at and an idea of what’s going on.”

Also included in the questionnaire, said Shea, would be a statement from town administration divulging why a new town hall is needed.

“What are you going to ask?” said Chairman Thomas Danylik, in reference to the questionnaire.

“I guess we’re more asking whether or not they’re (residents) in favor of a town hall,” Shea said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to ask how much they’re willing to spend; we’ll figure things out as we go,” Shea said. “I don’t want to be too specific.”

Possible questions, said Shea, include: Where do you define the center of town? Are you interested in a new town hall? Do you agree that the current town hall is in disrepair?

The questions posed will try to “lead them down the path of answering whether or not there is a need to answer to that responsibility (of having a new town hall),” Shea said.

“We might also want to ask, not only do you think town hall is in disrepair, but inadequate,” Jones said.

Danylik suggested, “I think you need to ask them if they’re willing to spend,” and Shea completed his sentence, “You’re right, X amount of dollars.”

Selectman Dan Dubois suggested a disclosure of the site locations in the questionnaire packet.

“To me, I think residents should have a say on whether they want to see a town hall there or there,” Dubois said as he motioned. “I think we need to make it clear that we have an opportunity of two pieces of property to move on.”

The questionnaire will be distributed during the first week of December, said Shea.

Residents will have two weeks to complete it. “By mid-December, at election, we should have all results back,” Shea said.

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