Building Committee Update--May Progress Report

Work continues on the preconstruction phase of the Town Hall renovation project. In the past month, we have: 
  • met with Eversource to discuss its incentive program for electrification. This program provides the town with an analysis of its energy use and potential savings through weatherization and electrification. Participation makes us eligible for direct rebates on heat pumps and other HVAC equipment. 
  • met with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to discuss the encroachment of Town Hall onto the Route 97 right of way. Currently, the front staircase, part of the handicap access ramp, and most of the parking area occupies property that belongs to the State. The renovation plan calls for the removal of the stairs, reconstruction of the ramp, and, eventually, relocation of the parking area to the rear of the building and the access drive to that area. All of these will reduce but not eliminate our encroachment, and we will have to seek approval from DOT for the changes. In addition, DOT policy calls for the town to pay rent for improvements on state rights of way. 
  •  carried out what our architect called an inspection of the second floor framing. Local carpenters Doug and Justin O’Connor, working for Quiet Corner Restoration (see photo), lifted floor boards in the former land use office in order for an engineer to determine how the floor was framed, which will help us design the structure for the elevator. Our architect called this an "investigative demolition," but in the end, thanks to the O'Connors' careful work, nothing was demolished. The boards will be able to be reused in the renovation.  
  • begun discussions about relocating Town Hall offices during the renovation. The current plan is to use space at the firehouse. An architect is designing the changes that will be required. Most costs will be covered from the grants, which include money specifically for relocation.
Also, at the May 8 Board of Selectmen meeting, Chairman Greenberg detailed for the Board the finances of the project. He reported that the Town has spent $97,000 so far, most of which will be reimbursed through the four grants that have been awarded to the Town. The delays in reimbursement are due to delays at the State Department of Economic and Community Development. (Last week, a $50,000 award from the State Historic Preservation Office for survey and planning was finally made available, and application is being made for costs incurred since October 2022.) 
He also addressed confusion regarding the town’s contribution to the project. Originally, we expected the town to provide $500,000 toward the renovation, most of which was derived from Covid-related grants from the Federal government, and allocated to the project in capital budgets dating back to 2022. When the bridge disaster occurred in Fall 2023, we had to deplete our capital funds, but we could not entirely eliminate the town contribution for two reasons: first, that there are expenses that will not be covered by any grants, and second, that we had already made expenditures from the town’s contribution. So $100,000 in town money was left in the budget. Approximately half that amount comes from the Covid-related funds allocated to capital in past years, and most of it should be reimbursed through the grants. It is still possible that we will not have to spend the remainder; that will depend on the specifics of our grants. To be safe, we will request the remainder as allocations from the operating budgets in the next two years. This year’s request will be $20,000. 
Our architect is currently awaiting the results of the Eversource study to complete the design documents. The original plan called for those documents and a new cost estimate to be ready for Committee action at the end of June. It appears that this will now take place in July. But we still plan on commencing construction in early 2025. 
Chairman Greenberg will be reporting to the Board of Selectmen at one of its  meetings every month, and will answer questions from the Board and the public. Keep an eye on BOS agendas. Also, he will be presenting the budget request at the public hearing and town meeting in June. Please feel free to contact him with questions or concerns at