2014-02-14 / Front Page

Town hall location selected

Although another option is left open, Arundel selectmen pinpoint a Limerick Road site
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — The board of selectmen voted Monday night to move forward with plans to build a new town hall on Limerick Road while also keeping the option of a Bergeron Road location open.

The decision by the board came after a survey was sent out by town administration in early December asking residents specifics about the prospect of a new town hall and the favored location.

Given four possible locations for a new town hall – Limerick Road, Bergeron Drive, Route 111 and Route 1 – residents voted in favor of a Limerick Road location. Residents who participated (approximately 140) also voted that construction costs for a new town hall should fall between $1 million and $2 million.

At the Feb. 10 meeting, Ryan Senatore of Senatore Architecture and Will Conway of Sebago Technics presented information about the Limerick Road lot and a proposed building layout to the board.

The nearly 8,000-square-foot, one-story building plan proposed by Senatore, in collaboration with the board, would cost approximately $1.8 million to construct at about $175 per square foot, what Senatore said was “pretty good value.” The cost for purchasing the desired parcel on Limerick Road is the most expensive of the four options at $300,000.

“The best bang for your buck is a one-story building,” Senatore told the board, due to costs incurred with a second story, such as an elevator. “It saves us $6 to $7 a square foot,” Senatore said.

The building includes offices for town administration as well as a sizeable conference room for town meetings and a vault for storage.

Conway suggested the board seek out the aid of a construction manager.

“You can design it, bid it and go to construction, or, what we would suggest, is bring a construction manager in,” Conway said. “They can give you a maximum price. It helps when you’re going to referendum. When asking voters to support this, you have a guarantee.”

Before a motion was put forth, Town Manager Todd Shea asked if the board was in agreement that the Limerick Road was the desired location. Selectman Jason Nedeau reminded the board that the $1.8 million figure was only for construction costs and didn’t include the cost to purchase the Limerick Road parcel.

If the decision is made to purchase the Limerick Road lot, Shea said, “We do have the funds to pay for it.”

“In my opinion the only benefit to the Bergeron Drive is that it’s inexpensive,” Shea said. “For future development potential, the public was more in favor of the Limerick Road site,” Shea said, citing the access to the Eastern Trail and the Kennebunk River. “Yes, the Limerick Road site is a lot more money, but there’s a lot more land and ability to maximize our options.”

“I keep hearing, ‘We’ve discussed this for 20 years, what’s the rush?’” Shea said. He added that if a decision about a new town hall isn’t made soon, “We’ll have to start making improvements to the current town hall to bring it up to code. If we wait another three to four years, we will have issues,” Shea said. “What do we bring to the public?”

Said Selectman Dan Dubois, “At today’s rate, what does that (the cost of construction and parcel) do to the mil rate?”

Shea reported that the highest year of repayment over the life of a $1.7-1.8 million bond would be $140,000, or a 40-cent increase, annually. The first two years of repayment would roughly be 40 cents per $100,000 of property valuation.

“Are people willing to spend 40 cents per $100,000 is the question,” Shea said. “I’m not here to rush past the RSU (Regional School Unit) and get a referendum out in June ... It might not be the ideal time to be asking, but these problems need to be addressed,” Shea said in reference to the school renovation bond that will likely face voters in the next six to eight months.

The board unanimously voted to move forward with the Limerick Road site, but to not exclude Bergeron Drive. They also decided to get the property appraised, but not before Nedeau told the board, “A $1.8-million town hall just seems absurd.”

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