2018-01-26 / Front Page

Arundel town hall group selected

By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — With a dozen Arundel residents expressing interest in being named to an ad hoc committee to plan design and build a new town hall, selectmen hit upon a solution at their Jan. 24 meeting — appoint them all.

After a site selection process that lasted several years, and following final authorization by town meeting voters in June to spend $375,000 on a 48-acre parcel off Limerick Road, selectmen final closed on the property Dec. 5.

The bulk of that site has then immediately signed over to the newly formed Arundel Conservation Trust, which paid $175,000, with the town retaining 10 acres for the new town hall. In early 2014, selectmen accepted plans for an 8,000-square-foot town hall, then pegged at about $1.8 million to construct. But time has marched on and questions lingered over when that plan was still appropriate. So, selectmen put out a call for volunteers, hoping to get two names they could could put on a committee roster alongside themselves, Town Manager Keith Trefethen, and a couple of town employees.

Instead of two names, they got 12. And the question quickly arose — how to whittle down that list of applicants? The solution: Don’t.

“I know that we are concerned about the size of the committee, and ending up with something that’s unruly,”

Chairman Thomas Danuylik sad, “but we’ve bemoaned over the years that fact that we’ve asked for volunteers and we come up empty more often than now. Now, suddenly, we’ve got a list here, some of these people I’ve never even heard of, who want to participate. I’ve got some problem saying to anyone, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.”

Selectman Jason Nedeau pointed out that meetings of the committee will be open, so all applicants could still attend those sessions and provide input, even if not made voting members. However, Danylik observed that service on the building committee could well act as a kind of feeder system, by which members might then feel encouraged to join other boards and committees, or even run for public office.

“If somebody wants to participate who hasn’t before, and we can get them involved in the town, long-term that may have some benefit, because we’re always tapping the same people, generally,” he said. “It’s already been explained to these folks that this will be a process which could consume quite a bit of their time. If they’re still willing to serve, that speaks volumes to me.”

“I don’t think they’re all going to show up, and if they do, some will fade away as time goes on,” Selectman Velma Hayes said, suggesting that the committee may not still have 12 active members by the time its final recommendations are made for how big the town hall should be and what it should contain.

“That’s true,” Danylik said. “There have been a lot of things where we started out with a huge crowd and, before long, we were down to three people sitting in a room staring at each other.”

Resident Jack Reetz, who served on the building committee for the recent school renovation project, said that was also a large group, which, while some members did fall off over time, allowed it to cover more ground faster by breaking into sub-committees to tackle various parts of the project.

“The other point I would make, too, is that if we are going to spend $2 million, or whatever the number might be, that we’ll be paying on for the next 20 years, the public would and should be very unhappy if you don’t put it out broadly to anyone who is qualified,” Reetz said. “This is a really big deal for the town.”

Named to the committee were Ethan Davis, Steve Dalzell, Richard Fitzmorris, Adam Goulette, Rob Ingwerson, Tom McGinn, Bob Mills, Robert Pelletier, Bill Ridlon, Joe Simard, Jack Turcotte and Reetz.

Goulette, Fitzmorris, Mills and Pelletier all have construction and/or excavation experience, while Ingwerson specializes in green construction. Dalzell, meanwhile, is a Naval architect, while McGinn is faculty chair of architectural and engineering design at York County Community College. Reetz is a member of the Arundel Conservation Trust, which will have an interest in the site as it will share the driveway and parking lot for public access to its lands.

A first meeting date of the committee has not been sent. However, it may come sooner rather than later. The plan had been to have the committee kick off its efforts after selectmen wrapped up with budgeting season. However, Trefethen said it should be an easy budget process this year.

“There are not a lot of changes and I do not foresee this taking a lot of tome for us to get through at all,” he said.

Staff writer Wm. Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

Return to top