BRADFORD TOWN HALL RESTORATION
Preserving Bradford’s Past ~ Building Bradford’s Future
Town Hall Restoration Committee ~ Mission Statement
The mission of the Town Hall Restoration Committee is to restore the Town Hall to a functional building for municipal services and community use. The best investment for the town is to modernize the building to provide for the town’s present needs, as cost effectively as possible, so that it can continue to serve Bradford for many years to come, consistent with its historical character.~ November 2011
PERTINENT DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION:
2017 TOWN HALL INFORMATION
The total cost of the project, per warrant article #4 is $861,000 including a full workable foundation;
The amount requested for the bond is $675,000. The balance of One Hundred Eighty Six Thousand Dollars ($186,000.00) has been raised via donations and grants. (A total of $105,000 has been awarded by LCHIP. Private cash and in-kind donations total $81,000.)
PRIOR YEAR INFORMATION
ANALYSIS OF TOWN HALL USAGE IN 5 SURROUNDING TOWNS (Henniker, Warner, New London, Newbury, Sutton):
TIMELINE/OVERVIEW OF PAST TOWN OFFICE SOLUTIONS (from 2006-2016):
TOWN HALL FAQ LIST (also scroll down to view long form version)
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
RESTORATION FULFILLS BRADFORD’S NEEDS
A restoration and renovation of Town Hall will provide for municipal offices & meeting space, and will significantly increase necessary storage.
Use of Bradford’s Community Center was a temporary measure.
Provides a safe, healthy & secure working environment for town employees.
Our restored and renovated Town Hall will be a versatile building, able to perform many different functions for the town and residents.
Restores our Town Hall which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
GOOD FOR BRADFORD’S ECONOMY
It has always been a priority of the THRC to use qualified local workers, which is good for Bradford’s economy.
Town Hall has the highest valuation of any town-owned property at $735,100.
Rebuilding preserves and increases the value of the building for town and taxpayers.
Improving Main Street, making Bradford better for prospective homebuyers and businesses.
See an increase in interest rates.
See an increase in construction costs.
Allow the building to further deteriorate.
An unattractive Main Street will lead to a decrease in Bradford property values.
Town will need to continue to spend money on an unoccupied building: insurance, electricity (alarm system), heating (damage without).
Jeopardize continued use of Community Center for Town Office.
Loss of this historic treasure that has served this town so well would be unconscionable.
It is still not too late to obtain low interest rates which are predicted to increase in the near future.
Construction costs are predicted to increase 7 to 12 % over the next year.
Construction of an equivalent town hall building would cost much more than the plan presented.
Not renovating means the building remains vacant and loses value to deterioration or damage.
We will pass our iconic Town Hall along to future generations.
THE TOWN HALL RENOVATION PLAN INCLUDES:
Preservation of the historical structure and architectural features of the building.
Full foundation will provide a firm foundation for the entire building, improve access for maintenance and work on utilities under the front portion of the building, eliminate mold, structural, and moisture issues, while providing clean and dry storage for town documents.
New systems including electrical, mechanical, septic, fire suppression and alarm systems.
Interior construction and finishing including new and expanded first floor offices, meeting rooms, lavatories, storage, and egress stairs.
New insulation and energy retrofit, window restoration and storm windows.
A generator sufficient to power the fire pump and other needs of the building.
The second floor will be fully functional. Finishing of the second floor for additional use will be done with privately donated funds or grants.
Hazardous material abatement- Completed!
Bradford’s Elected Officials Support
The Bradford Selectmen have endorsed the Town Hall Restoration Plan with a unanimous 3-0 vote.
The Bradford Budget Committee has recommended the warrant article for the Town Hall Restoration by a unanimous 7-0 vote.
The Bradford Planning Board voted unanimously to support the Town Hall Restoration Plan.
FAQs (last revised 2/20/16):
What is the total amount on hand, of private cash and in-kind donations?
We currently have $72,356 in cash and in-kind donations available to fund the Town Hall project.
Can the funds raised by RHC (Rural Heritage Connection) be used to match the $105,000 L-CHIP grant? (Note: The $105,000 LCHIP grant money was awarded contingent upon the raising of matching funds)
Yes. In fact, the match has already been made but RHC is continuing to actively fundraise for the project, in order to bring down the total cost to Bradford taxpayers as much as possible.
In order to be eligible to receive the LCHIP grant money, do we need to follow through with the original Town Hall architectural plans?
No, because as of November 2015, L-CHIP approved the eligibility of the Town Hall Committee’s revised restoration plan for grant funding. (Note: L-CHIP does not issue the funds upfront but rather in the form of a reimbursement.)
For what things, or areas of the building precisely, can L-CHIP funds be used?
See attached document for a full list of LCHIP eligible items: LIST OF LCHIP APPROVED ITEMS FOR GRANT REIMBURSEMENT
What happens to the $105,000 LCHIP grant money if the current Town Hall proposal is not approved by voters this year?
The terms of the LCHIP grant require significant completion, if not full completion of the project within the next 12 months, in order to be eligible to receive the grant money. If the current proposal is not approved, no significant progress can be made. If no significant progress is made, the $105,000 will be automatically forfeited. The end result is that any potential future proposals will quite likely be greater in cost and present a higher tax burden to the community.
Why was the police station portion of the building removed from the Town Hall?
The reasons for this are primarily twofold. The first is construction and safety based and the second has to do with historic concerns. In the case of the former, water washing down on that (police station) portion of the building was causing damage – one of the effects of which was mold. Given this – and also since this section of the building was added only relatively recently and is not a historic section of the building the decision was made to have it removed.
Why did the vault in Town Hall need to be removed?
The vault was removed since the newly proposed basement would be under the vault and the vault’s weight could not be supported in this scenario. Since the decision had already been made to remove the police station, the most cost effective time to have the vault removed was while the exterior wall was being replaced.
Are there plans for a generator?
Yes, an estimate for the generator is included in the current proposal.
Some voters have sentimental attachments to the Town Hall. Why should voters without similar sentiments be asked to fund the cost of the project?
We are a small yet diverse town. Individual community members have varied priorities and financial situations. Some who are struggling financially, for example, may not consider a building restoration to be of top concern. Still others in the same situation may attach a good deal of importance to such a project and be willing to make the requisite financial sacrifices. Balancing individual needs and desires with that of the community as a whole is not always a simple or straightforward task but it is each person’s right and responsibility to do so. The Town Hall Restoration Committee fully understands and respects this.
Aside from sentimental reasons, we believe that there are a number of compelling reasons for supporting the Town Hall restoration proposal this year. A few are discussed below:
After a fairly in depth analysis of Town Hall usage in the surrounding towns of Henniker, Newbury, New London, Sutton and Warner, evidence strongly suggests that restoration of Bradford’s Town Hall will enable our community members – and others – to use it for a variety of purposes (town offices, town board and committee meetings, annual town meetings and other events), while also attracting people who might not otherwise be inclined, to visit and experience the town of Bradford. While it has proved difficult to quantify the actual number of visitors that a usable Town Hall might attract (none of the five surrounding towns we spoke to keep any records of this actual data), all of the town representatives consulted (the town of Sutton being the sole exception) confirmed an average weekly usage rate of Town Hall – or equivalent building for that purpose – of nearly every day during the summer season and at least 2 to 3 times per week during the rest of the year. This is outside of normal town office use, in cases where towns also use their Town Halls for town office space. The actual uses, per town, are listed in full detail on the attached spreadsheet document, titled “Analysis of Town Hall Usage”.
Given that both the square footage and occupancy rate (per the current proposal) of Bradford’s Town Hall exceed that of any other in the immediate surrounding area, it seems reasonable to conclude that besides just town office space, we too could use the Town Hall in much the same way(s) that surrounding towns do, and with perhaps even greater flexibility.
Related to such usage, the town of Bradford could stand to gain some additional revenues, both directly and indirectly. The direct gains are somewhat more easily quantified. (See attached revenue gains for surrounding towns, where applicable). While these revenues might not be considered hefty “moneymakers” for the most part, they would serve to defray at least some portion of building maintenance costs and are of some financial value in that sense. The indirect revenues are certainly also a factor, though more difficult to quantify. These are the revenues that are brought into the town on a broader level, as a result of visitors to Town Hall also visiting or giving business to other in-town entities while they are here, whether that be our restaurants (Pizza Chef, Appleseed, Dunkin Donuts), Sweet Beet Farmer’s Market, our Historical Society, and other businesses such as our charming local inns and (with any luck) our local realtor’s office.
Since a majority of voters have shown support for past Town Hall restoration proposals, it would not be unreasonable to expect that future proposals will continue to be forthcoming, should the current (2016) proposal not be approved by voters.
Such forthcoming proposals for Town Hall restoration will quite likely prove to be even more costly, given inflation and possibly rising interest rates.
To illustrate – since the inception of this project in 2006, and using the currently proposed bond total of $975,000, below is an explanation of the dollar’s depreciation since then:
$975,000 – in 2006,
has the same buying power as:
$1,146,287.57 – in 2015
This essentially represents a 15% percent increase in cost (i.e.- a 15% loss in the value of the dollar value since 2006. What once could be purchased for $975,000 costs $1,146,287.57 several years later).
If we cannot soon come to an agreement amongst ourselves with respect to a reasonable proposal (via the required 2/3 majority vote), costs will only continue to rise, making the financial compromises and flexibility needed to successfully complete such a project potentially even more challenging than they are today.
Article 41 (introduced by petition and approved by voters on March 8, 2011) states in part: “…that the Bradford Area Community Center available space not be permanently occupied, used or leased to for-profit agencies, businesses or others that do not fit into said mission of the Bradford Area Community Center.”
Voters clearly came to a consensus that the BACC should not be “permanently” occupied for purposes other than originally intended. The use of the building as a place to house our town offices do not fall into the category of “originally intended uses”.
What is less clear – and what was not articulated in Article 41 – are the precise parameters surrounding the word “permanent”. No actual date for a return of town offices to the Town Hall was specified.
Nonetheless, five years have passed since Article 41 was passed. The town offices are still being housed in the BACC and the BACC still cannot be used for any town revenue generating purposes. One might argue that the circumstances are tolerable as they are now. But on the other hand, they are far from ideal. The town office staff has limited means of egress based on the current office configuration, which would prove to be problematic should any real emergency situation arise. The town office spaces proposed in the current Town Hall plan addresses this issue to the fullest extent – incorporating multiple means of egress, as well as plans for reinforced safety glass and reinforced walls, capable of repelling firearms, for instance.
Another less than ideal outcome following the relocation of town offices (and space for town related meetings) is that the local youth group now has extremely limited, if any, access to the use of BACC space. Prior to the town offices move, this group was quite active in its use of the building and it is regrettable that they have been in essence, pushed out for several years now.
Other less than ideal circumstances include a shortage of storage space for town records and in general, a situation where “competition” for BACC room bookings for a variety of purposes has significantly increased, and not all who put in a request can always be successfully accommodated.
We offer a scenario where another, existing town owned property (in this case, Town Hall) serves to alleviate these particular problems, and moreover can do so at a relatively reasonable cost – with the added benefit of restoring a historic structure on top of this. Each and every one of this year’s THROC members has seriously committed to making this project as cost efficient as it can possibly be. Specifically, the committee has chosen to shoulder the responsibility of defraying at least 25% of the total project cost, with some committee members contributing heavily to the project financially via their own personal funds – in order to drive down the cost to taxpayers as much as we possibly can. We have reached out to as many service providers as possible to make sure that we are receiving reasonable estimates, have personally consulted with many of our in-town building “experts” to ask for their opinions with respect to some of our estimates and have generally made every attempt possible to include the community in this process and to communicate our progress.
In sum, the Town Hall restoration might not be capable of singlehandedly erasing all of the challenges we may face as a town (it would be a lot to expect of any single endeavor). It can however serve to inject a potent, additional “boost” to continued positive developments – both great and small – in our community.
Examples of some small, positive developments noticed over the past couple of years:
Repainting of the Food Bank building at the Church
Repainting of the Tin Shop on East Main St.
Repainting, residing or other restoration efforts of at least 3 other residential properties along East and West Main St.
Repainting of Brown Shattuck Field dugouts (and new dugout roofs are coming this summer)
Some larger scale positive developments:
New sidewalks and repaving of East Main St.
The purchase and beautiful renovation of the Bradford Village Inn
Creation of a garden on a formerly unsightly lot on East Main St.
The opening of Sweet Beet Farm Stand this past summer
The recent purchase of the Thistle & The Shamrock Inn and future plans to renovate the building
Repaving of a large portion of West Main St.
Ice Skating Rink project currently in the works
With all of these continued developments, both large and small, others (both inside and outside the community) are bound to take notice if they have not already, and join in the many and varied efforts for continued town improvements, including the Town Hall (think: additional in-kind and private cash donations).
A final word: It has been said on occasion that the Town Hall is Bradford’s most valuable asset. In strictly real estate terms, it is. But as one of our community members rightly pointed out, a distinction must be made. It is truly the people who live here, who are the town’s most valuable “asset”. Certainly, without people, there would be no buildings – and none of the attendant debates concerning how to use them, or how to best maintain and preserve them. People are certainly capable of existing without buildings (though whether or not we’d want to return to humble cave dwelling beginnings is debatable) – but buildings are not capable of existing without the people who make them.
In the act of erecting any structure, the people who take part in the effort are inevitably involved in creating a sense of place, unique to their geographical location, needs and values. This particular sense of place cannot be arbitrarily recreated “just anywhere” to any authentic effect. It is for this reason that New York City has a certain “feel”, which differs from that of Dallas, TX, which differs from that of a typical Chicago suburb, which in turn of course differs from that of small New England town such as our own. These varying senses of place serve to attract varying types of people. The type of person who might be attracted to a suburban or urban environment, for example, has arguably very different needs and values as compared to the type of person who prefers a more rural environment (again, such as our own).
Our collective decision with respect to the Town Hall extends therefore beyond the structure itself. Is Bradford’s particular “sense of place” at all special and worthy of preserving to the extent that we possibly can? We leave the answer to this important question in the domain of the voters.
What are the types of heating systems currently being considered for the building, and who ultimately makes the decision to install one type of heating system over another?
Fuel oil, propane, and a wood pellet boiler (with propane back-up) were all under consideration. Propane, a cleaner burning fuel, was chosen– with the Select Board being the final approving authority. (Note: The idea to run a pipe from the library to the Town Hall was once considered. However, there is no need for the library to replace their existing furnace and it would also add an unnecessary level of cost and complexity to the project.)
Will electric and engineering specs be made available for review?
Yes, all of the RFP’s issued for the various technical areas are public documents already are, or will be made available at the Town Office and on the Town website, bradfordnh.org.
One of the reasons being put forth for a full Town Hall restoration is the option to hold annual town meetings in the building. Will this be possible? What is the capacity of the building?
The fire and building codes allow for 1 occupant per 7 square ft. for non-fixed seating arrangements. In this scenario:
Second floor capacity = 299
First floor capacity = 110
GRAND TOTAL CAPACITY = 409
Using a combination of seating and standing people (5 square ft. per standee) would bring the total capacity to over 500 people. However, the doors, stairs and corridors need to be proven to be able to evacuate this number of people. Ultimately the fire chief would determine the maximum safe occupant load and this would be posted at the entry to the meeting spaces.
With the exception of the April 11, 2013 town meeting on reconsideration of the Town Hall bond issue when 454 votes were cast, the largest attendance at a town meeting in the past 10 years was 318 at the March 2013 meeting. Attendance in other years during that period ranged from 114 in 2005 to 288 in 2006, when the purchase of Valley Transportation was on the warrant. Given this, and the current building plans, the Town Hall should be able to comfortably accommodate the expected number of town meeting attendees in the future.
Which parts of the building are considered “historic” versus not historic? How are these guidelines established and who establishes them?
The Town Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This Register is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.
We are therefore guided by the criteria established by this institution – enumerated below – with respect to historical relevance of the building:
U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
| II. NATIONAL REGISTER CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION
Criteria for Evaluation
The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:
A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
B. That are associated with the lives of significant persons in our past; or
C. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
D. That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in history or prehistory.
Ordinarily cemeteries, birthplaces, graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years shall not be considered eligible for the National Register. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria or if they fall within the following categories:
a. A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance; or
b. A building or structure removed from its original location but which is primarily significant for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; or
c. A birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no appropriate site or building associated with his or her productive life; or
d. A cemetery that derives its primary importance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events; or
e. A reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; or
f. A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; or
g. A property achieving significance within the past 50 years if it is of exceptional importance.
Some additional information about the Town Hall with respect to historic architectural elements:
Bradford’s Town Hall, built in 1863 and placed on the National Historic Register (NHR) on 03 March 1980 is a two and one half story, generously proportioned wood frame building that exhibits Greek Revival and Neo-Georgian characteristics in symmetrical harmony. The Town Hall’s architecture is beautifully echoed in steep gables with pediment returns and porticos of dozens of Greek Revival houses lining Main St. The bulls-eye window mirrors the window of the older Baptist Church it faces.
Constructed of massive 14-inch square by forty foot timbers imported from a dismantled 1797 structure in Bradford Center, the 1863 structure remains solid. The National Historic Register (NHR) inventory form describes a building of “five bays” and three chimneys, with exterior pavilion cornice returns to suggest a pediment.” A classic King Post Truss defines the roofline. The NHR form elaborates that “… A façade gable encompasses an exquisite bull’s-eye window with four keystones intersecting its casing. The front entrance consists of two six-paneled doors flanked by pilasters and surmounted by a pediment that was applied later, concealing the original entablature. Simplified Doric pilasters terminate each corner and the frieze continues along the sides of the Town Hall. Windows are evenly spaced, but sashes vary throughout the building and incorporate either a twelve-over-twelve or twelve-over-eight formation. Simple casings and architraves surround each window. Treatment similar to the pavilion cornice is repeated on each gable end. Two exterior fire exits were added to the east and west ends in 1929. Three central bays form a pavilion with nine-over-six and twelve-over-eight sash windows on the first story. An abundance of well preserved Classical and coffered laurel wreath panel ornamentation embellish the elaborate tin ceiling. The motifs symbolize enlightenment, heroism and Aristotelian ideals. Many windowpanes retain the original wavy glass. The stately exterior of the Town Hall communicates an impression of serenity and dignified restraint reflecting the traditional rural culture of its builders.”
Will bids for the Town Hall be open or closed? Why, in either case?
The THRC chose to send RFPs to a selected list of contractors qualified in the specific field with an emphasis on local or nearby contractors. So while the bidding is technically not open, the committee is amenable to including any additional recommendations by Bradford residents for contractors. Recommendations may be sent by email to Kelly Gale at: Kelly@klgarchitecture.com.
Will there be adequate parking?
Adequate parking is available for the day-to-day operation of the building. For larger events, the library/church parking lot can and should be used and/or shuttle bus service can be offered. In addition, on-street parking has been an option when approved by the town, as it typically has been for large, town-wide events (such as every Independence Day celebration) and meetings. (Note: The 2010 census counted 379 of Bradford’s population of 1,642 within walking distance of Town Hall.)
Why is the Town Hall Committee in favor of a full overhaul of the building, versus other options for restoration? Have any other options been looked into? If so, what are they?
(See attached spreadsheet document, titled “Town Hall Timeline”, for a full history of previously considered solutions for Town Hall and town office housing.) Other options have been applied in the past to the Town Hall. A series of “patch
job” repairs, fixes, and additions over the years have left the building in its current state. It is due for a comprehensive restoration to make the building safe and usable while maintaining this historic presence at the core of our town. “Restoration” implies a full overhaul vs. any other options. That said, as the project has evolved over the past several years the scope has changed. The continuing reviews of design and scope have brought the project to a well thought out, comprehensive package.
The biggest recent change has been the incorporation of a full basement under the building rather than a basement under only the back half of the building. This change was requested by the Selectmen, after reviewing input from a number of townsfolk and the feeling that the additional space would serve the town well for decades to come.The detailed architectural review of the building conducted in 2015 confirms the wisdom of this approach. The structural integrity of the building will be enhanced with the full basement, eliminating issues that had become evident during the review. The other significant design change this year is making handicapped access through a new door in the side of the building at the front. Previous conceptual approaches had been to make the front entrance handicapped accessible. More detailed design review showed this to be impractical at best, and negatively impacting the historic front view of the building. LCHIP has approved both of these revisions.
What is the overall state of affairs in town, to place the request for Town Hall restoration in a better context, financially and otherwise?
Any town’s ‘value’ or ‘desirability’ as a place to live is a function of a number of things: police and fire protection, school system quality, highway maintenance, parks and recreation, etc. Bradford ranks high in all of these.Another real measure, though harder to quantify, is the perception of the town to visitors and residents, as projected by the town or village center. Bradford has seen an excellent (and continuing) improvement in downtown in recent years, with the East Main Street rebuild, property rehabs, a new park, Historical Society property development, etc.The core of downtown Bradford is the Town Hall, Library, Church, and older well kept buildings. A restored Town Hall will certainly enhance this image. A Town Hall left vacant and going to seed will certainly diminish the image. People working in the municipal sector have said repeatedly that the economic effect is real, but difficult to quantify. A hypothetical example: An average home, currently valued at ~$160,000 will pay ~$40/year in increased taxes for the Town Hall Bond. After 10 years, if the property value has increased 1% because of the vibrant downtown, the property will be worth ~$1,600 more. Good return on $400. If, on the other hand, we do nothing, the Town Hall continues to decay, and property values decrease 1% for this reason, the homeowner has lost $1,600. Again, hypothetical, but an interesting and valid point for discussion.
a) Has the town incurred any cost savings?
The Highway Department garage bond will be paid off in 2016. 2017 will show a cost saving of ~$16,000.
b) What is happening with the school budget?
The school budget is up about 2% for next year. However, teachers and district have negotiated a new contract that will appear as a separate warrant article. If it passes the total school district increase will be around 3%.
c) What is the town foreclosure rate?
Individual town foreclosure rates are not kept by the NH state department, so no “official” numbers can be reported in this sense. However, per a local Bradford realtor, below is a brief synopsis of the total number of real estate listings in town per year from 2014-2016, along with the total number of foreclosed properties during those same years:
2014: 19 residential sales total, 4 foreclosures
2015: 26 residential sales total, 4 foreclosures
1 commercial sale (auctioned)
2016: 19 residential listings on the market, 2 are foreclosures
1 commercial foreclosure (carried over from 2014)
d) How many people are moving in to town versus leaving?
This precise number of people moving into town versus those leaving could not be quantified. However, below is a brief history of population statistics for Bradford since 2010, as well as population projections up to the year 2040:
2010 – pop. 1,650
2015 – pop. 1,712
2020 – pop. 1,787 (projected)
2025 – pop. 1,831 (projected)
2030 – pop. 1,868 (projected)
2035 – pop. 1,890 (projected)
2040 – pop. 1,896 (projected)
e) How are we investing town resources?
Currently in bank saving accounts accumulating no interest. Investment in low risk, modest yield, stock funds are being considered by the Trustees of the Trust Funds. The Select Board has been informed of this has offered their support.
f) How are town departments doing in terms of budget, services provided, etc?
The overall spending for 2015 finished at 99% of budget. This year, the town’s Master Plan is being updated and a survey is currently being drafted by the Planning Board. In part, this document will serve to assess town services and other aspects of the town, to facilitate continued improvement and development of Bradford in accordance with residents’ feedback. (Note: The last Master Plan was drafted in 2006.)
g) What other cost increases to Bradford’s budget, if any, can be expected over the next 5 yrs.?
No major projects/increases are foreseen.
h) Can the voters be provided with multiple financial scenarios for funding the Town Hall?
A bond vs. a government financed low interest loan (3.125%) are being pursued. One scenario that had been the subject of discussion entailed approaching the Town Hall project in phases. Analysis of the current restoration plan has shown this to be a less than efficient approach.
An example: The full cellar (integral to the current plan) requires fire protection (sprinkler system installation). If sprinklers are needed for the cellar, the adder for the rest of the building is relatively minor and makes sense to do at the same time. (Review of other segments of the project yield similar results.) There was also some concern that aside from inefficiencies, voters would rather have the town ask only once for financial approval for this project, as opposed to coming back a second time at some later date with a request for additional funding. The budget committee shared this view unanimously and did not support a phased approach scenario.
Will more money or additional bond articles be requested of the town in the future (for restoration efforts), if the current bond proposal of $975,000 is approved?
How much would it cost to move back into the building, while still fulfilling the minimum requirements as per building, fire and ADA code?
Estimates to move back into the building have been in the $42,000 range, which includes construction costs only, not air quality studies or mitigation. The Select Board charged the Restoration Committee with investigating a comprehensive restoration/renovation of the building to suit current needs, protect the historic resource and provide a functional building for years to come. Since it is currently empty, the logical start is to construct the basement and work up from there. With that, the major expense at day one is necessary to properly do the job.
The precise cost to move back in does depend on the intended use. If the building is to be used, say, by the Historical Society, much of the work proposed in the full project would be needed to bring it up to ADA and fire/safety standards. Heating, insulation, wiring that meets current code, sprinkler system and a new septic system would all be required.
Why is the cost to move back into Town Hall so high? The building was occupied only a few years ago and seemed not to require such a heavy cost investment.
In fact, additional costs would have been incurred at that time. The building was closed due to mold issues and concerns regarding employee health. Returning to the building would require an air quality study and mitigation of the existing issues, whatever found. From reviews at the time of closure, this would at least entail vapor barriers, rework of the heating system, duct cleaning and then additional items to meet current code – another series of “patch job” repairs that the Town Hall has undergone for the last 100 years.
Why did some voters not vote in favor of past proposals? What is different about this proposal?
As with any question, there are different opinions among a group of people. A majority of the voting townsfolk are in favor of the restoration. See FAQ #9 for a statement regarding the value of the Town Hall to the town. The majority would concur with this and add other points regarding the value of history, beauty of the building, future use of the auditorium, and other reasons. A minority perceive little or no value in the building. Some citizens are concerned with the immediate tax impact, and less with long-term gains associated with such a project.
The current proposal differs from last year’s with the inclusion of the full basement (sprinklered) and ADA access on the side of the building at the front. The evolution of the project from design concept in 2012 to today is the result of input from a variety of people including architects, builders, historians, State Fire Marshall, consulting engineers, and interested citizens. It is a well thought out, efficient, and functional design.
Functions for a restored Town Hall: Town Offices, Town Voting Place, Town Meeting, Candidate Forums, Theater, Music Performances, Dances, Wedding Receptions, Bridal & Baby Showers, Anniversary Celebrations, Children’s Theater & Summer Activities, Films, Graduation Ceremonies, Square Dancing, Lectures, Art Shows and many other Cultural & Civic Events.
The Town Hall Restoration Committee has continued to work to create a strong plan for the future of our irreplaceable town hall building. Bradford needs space for town meetings and voting, and essential administrative functions such as tax collection, vehicle registration, and board and commission meetings.The mission of the Town Hall Restoration Committee is to restore the Town Hall to a functional building for municipal services and community use. The best investment for the town is to modernize the building to provide for the town’s present needs, as cost effectively as possible, so that it can continue to serve Bradford for many years to come, consistent with its historical character.
The Town Hall Restoration Committee has worked throughout 2014 to utilize the $95,000 appropriated by Town Meeting to address pre-construction issues. Tasks included hiring an architect, who also serves as clerk of the works, overseeing work as it is done, replaced a needed portion of the roof, removed a non-historic addition, received state approval for a new septic system design, upgraded the existing well, tested and removed all asbestos from the building. This was done using primarily local contractors at a cost considerably lower than earlier estimates.
Using this new approach of taking responsibility for the work, rather than hiring a general contractor or construction manager has eliminated overhead costs to the extent that the lower bond amount can complete work on the basement and first floor. The second floor will be fully functional and ready for finishing touches as private funds are raised.
In July 2013 the Selectmen established the Town Hall Maintenance and Renovation Trust account. This account may be used for money raised through fundraising events and for private donations, including tax deductable donations.
The Committee and members of our community have joined in fundraising efforts including a July “Silent Auction”, a Christmas Greens & Holiday Pie Sale, the Masons Spaghetti Dinner and a January 2014 Progress Dinner. The Committee currently has undertaken a campaign to secure pledges of financial support for a public / private partnership to complete the rehabilitation of Town Hall.
The Town of Bradford has a dedicated committee to manage the project who are willing to raise part of the funding for the project on behalf of the town. The Committee has been working closely with the Select-board to refine plans for the project and raise matching private funds, including grants and rebates, in anticipation of a warrant article request at the March 2014 town meeting.
Bradford’s Board of Selectmen fully supports the restoration/renovation of Town Hall as does the Budget Committee.
As always, the Restoration Committee appreciates the comments and questions from residents as we work towards returning the Town Hall to a vital part of our community. Feel free to contact us: Claire James at 938.2041.
Harry Wright, Chair; Michele Halsted; Jim Bibbo; Brackett Scheffy, Moderator; John Greenwood; Will Kranz
Project Advisor/Manager Scott Mckenney
Architect Kelly L. Gale, KLG Architecture.