You may have noticed the new header picture at the top of the blog. It shows before/after images of a potential new town office building a block away from BMH on our town property on Lehner St. The images of a new 10,000 sq ft building were produced by Eric Paulson of SMP Architecs three years ago as part of the TOCAG project.
This whole area of downtown is slated to be upgraded with new streets, drainage, and sidewalks. It is literally a stones throw from Brewster Hall (OK maybe from the roof), and is adjacent to copious amounts of parking that is not otherwise in demand.
An 8,000 sq ft facility could be built there for less than $2 million, complete move-in condition. I would feel very comfortable with a “not-to-exceed” warrant article. A new building would be virtually maintenance free for years and could use 75% less energy than our 19th century historic monument.
Here’s an aerial view from the rear. It ties together the new parking, Foss Field, Downtown, Back Bay, and the Wolfeboro Falls business district. Downtown goes from being a one street affair to a multiple street town core. Town offices go from being up the hill out of the way to the epicenter of town activity.
Truth be told, I’m not too crazy about the design of the building depicted here, but picture it designed more like the Merideth Village Bank. Take a look at the space available in the rear. It is tied to the lower level parking with an elevator. The place could be built with or designed for expansion of the lower level to accommodate what is being referred to as a multi-generational center. A space for Senior activities, community center, and with the proximity to Foss Field, a place to support our Parks and Rec summer programs. All sharing meeting space, bathroom facilities, and janitorial services with the Town Offices.
There’s no dispute that Brewster Hall ultimately needs $4 million to make it a long term Town Office solution. At $200,000/year that’s twenty years. Then what? Start over? Why not do this right now for $2 million, and leave the preservationists to fix up the old place, with private funding, to be a monument to the Wolfeboro of a bygone era?
Here, Here, a bully idea. Unfortunately this common sense idea will never fit into Selectman Murray’s vision of “her Wolfeboro” and hence will fall by the wayside unless enough people become fed up and vote out the long term incumbents from the BOS and replace them with pragmatic individuals willing to look at new ideas that have real life, long term benefits to the taxpayers.
When will we elect selectmen (or can we even find candidates) that have a vislion like this rather than ones that are willing to spend any amount of taxpayer funds to satisfy their hobbies?
Think of it this way. If we weren’t ponying up $160K for the McBride property (to do what with?) that money could cover the professional design fees (estimated at 6% of build) for your plan and probably cover a chunk of an “owners rep” fee as well and free Mr. Housman up to do more important work, whatever that is.
It boggles my mind how people who profess to have the best interests of the town at the forefront of their decision-making process can be so blind-sided by so few and resent any voice of reason coming from opposing viewpoints. If these people think that BMH is the icon of downtown Wolfeboro then they have never sat in Cate Park and watched the dockside activity on a warm summer night or taken a walk above the Brewester Academy campus on a crisp fall day and looked across Wolfeboro Bay to the Belknap Range and the Broads. That is real.
Tunnel vision is no vision in my opinion.
Best wishes for the New Year,
The McBride property is being purchased to expand the parking lot at the public safety building according Mr. Owen at the Deliberative Session.