2013-02-19 / Local

Clock ticks on Woolwich building debate

BY LARRY GRARD Times Record Staff

WOOLWICH

Time is getting short if town officials want to give residents options for improvements at the Municipal Building, and they know it.

During Wednesday night’s meeting, the Selectboard will schedule a workshop with the Building Committee, which has been working diligently on renovation options for many months. The annual town meeting, on May 8, is not that far away, and articles for the warrant must be settled by then.

“We’re getting down to crunch time now,” Selectboard Chairman David King said Monday.

In separate written and oral surveys, residents have shown differing levels of support for two renovation and enlargement proposals — or none at all.

Plan A calls for an enlarged public meeting space, a new fire bay and other improvements at a price tag of $850,000. For $1 million, an even larger public meeting space could accommodate community functions.

King said the town should include both options on the town warrant. But it also should have a backup plan, he said. An elevator, for example, would allow for handicappedacess to the second-floor meeting space.

“We’d just like to have an ala carte menu with what each item costs,” he said.

King emphasized the need for some type of improvement at the Municipal Building, which is cramped and not up to code.

“We’ve outlived the usefulness of that building,” he said. “It’s a big, uninsulated garage.”

Wedneday’s meeting begins at 4 p.m., with an executive session regarding a committee appointment.

After a budget workshop from 5 to 6 p.m., selectmen will vote on a new member of the Shellfish Committee.

King said committee members have settled down since division and disagreements over stewardship of the town’s clam flats surfaced last month.

The Selectboard and the Shellfish Committee met last week.

“It was a very productive meeting,” he said. “They ironed out a lot of differences. They all want the same thing. They’re just saying it differently. They all want to protect the (clam) flats.”

King said there are two or three applicants for a position on the committee. Presently, he said, there are three clam diggers and three landowners on the panel.

“I think someone with a background in the industry would be good,” he said. “I can’t see loading up the committee with landowners.”

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