2016-09-02 / Letters

Attend the Arundel Town Hall meeting on Sept. 19

To the editor:

The selectmen have announced that a public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the Mildred L. Day School library in order to gather comments on where our new town hall should be built.

Building a new town hall in Arundel has been on the drawing boards for many years and is badly needed. The current facility is woefully inadequate for our administrative and staff needs and its run-down condition and lack of modern equipment is an embarrassment to a town that proudly bills itself as “One of the best small towns in Maine.”

As expected, the cost of a site and building has been the primary consideration so far. Yet the long-term value to our growing community is actually where our focus should be. What community needs it serves and where the new town hall is built will set the tone and image of Arundel for the next 50 years.

I suggest that we need to also think about some other factors beyond just cost.

First Impressions – Over the next 20 to 30 years many new families will look to Arundel as offering reasonable property prices, excellent schools and proximity to the seashore. What image will their first visit to our town hall and its surroundings provide? The same goes for current residents too. First impressions matter.

Price vs. Value – Should land be acquired for our town hall in a poorly suited location just because it’s cheap? How will putting a new facility in a bad location contribute to its long-term value to both the town’s current and future residents? There’s a lot more to creating lasting value than just looking at how much something may cost

Community – There is growing recognition that a new town hall could help build a stronger sense of community in Arundel. But, put in the wrong place, no matter how much is spent on building design and construction, it won’t satisfy the needs of the community now or in the future.

Nearby Amenities – There should be sufficient property to eventually serve as our modest, yet attractive, town center. The rap on Arundel is that there is no “there,” here. The new municipal facility could become the anchor for future community facilities, like a youth center, a senior center or outside recreation fields.

Image – A properly located and attractive town hall will help in establishing Arundel’s image as an affordable bedroom community within easy commuting distance to the greater Portland, southern New Hampshire and Boston areas. Keeping our image as a rural small town is important but focusing the kind of development we want can be helped by how we project who we want to become through the municipal facilities we build.

It’s important that everyone be heard on this issue. Please come to the meeting on Sept 19 and let your voice be heard

Sam Hull

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