Next step coming in Town House building study

Feb 7, 2018

A fork may soon be coming on the road to the new Marion Town House.

After approving $33,400 last May at Town Meeting for a new feasibility study of a possible Town House on the VFW property, town residents will soon numbers on the two options to choose from—renovating the current townhouse, or rebuilding elsewhere.

“The idea is to put it in front of the public and have the town vote on construction or renovation,” Lane said. “…We’ll let the community in its own wisdom choose the direction. It should be a public decision," said Town House subcommittee member Rob Lane.

The debate between new construction or renovating the current Town House has been a contentious issue for years. Some residents want to renovate the current Town House, with its historic roots in the town center. Others would like to construct a new Town House on the grounds of the Benjamin Cushing Community Center, to create a campus-style area.

Lane and fellow subcommittee member Alan Minard said the committee had been working with an architect to arrive at a target floor layout and elevation. Members are also working on obtaining a professional cost estimate, which they expect to have next week.

“The purpose was to come up with an option town taxpayers could look at to compare with renovation of this building, and then can make the financial decision and emotional decision of if the building should stay here or not,” Minard said.

Lane, Minard and the selectmen agreed that they would schedule a public meeting to present the committee’s findings and cost estimates as soon as they had the numbers in hand.