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Town Council Questions Going Ahead with STW Conversion

Council members seemed divided on the next step for the Stanley T. Williams project.

building has been an ongoing project and discussion in North Branford and after hearing some numbers, several Town Council members questioned whether now was the time to move ahead with the project at the .

Town Manager updated the Council on the latest happenings from the Permanent Project Building Committee (PPBC) meeting, which was held in conjunction with the staff and members of the –the two programs that would be moving into the building.

Branigan said that the architect’s estimate for the “full boat” was $600,000-plus. He then pared down the list to $130,000 with a “bare bones, no frills” approach that only included what was necessary for each agency to get in the door.

There is currently $200,000 in that is earmarked for the HVAC work, which is estimated to cost about $175,000.

At the March 5 PPBC meeting, the group, which also included Councilwoman and , went line by line through costs.

After examining the “bare bones” list, about $165,000 was added on for a total of $295,000. Additions included ADA doors for the main entrance, carpet or rubber flooring for the multi-purpose rooms, a new partition for the multi-purpose room, extra lighting and moving costs for the fitness center’s equipment.

“The process was a little painful, but needs were addressed and nice to-do things were put off, like a new floor in gymnasium,” said Branigan. “Could more money be allocated so we could do the project correctly, get in the door and use the space the way seniors and community center are accustomed to being used?”

Branigan requested the Town Council reallocate $293,971 of the funding so the architect can move forward and complete the design.

“We need to move the Rec Center and the Senior Center into this building to free up the other two buildings so we can market them, rent them out or sell them,” said Angeloni.

Council members and voiced concerns about moving ahead with the project.

“I don’t see a problem starting that end [HVAC] of it, but I don’t know if I want to jump in throwing another $293,000 into this deal,” he said.

Wentworth said she felt the town should wait until the Grand List is finalized as she is “hearing horror stories about the assessments and the budget sits at almost a two mil increase.”

and agreed with Angeloni that the buildings should be consolidated.

“We’ll spend a little more here getting this running, but we’ll have the two buildings,” said Doody.

“We’ve got holes in all three buildings, we’re providing services and we’re not using them,” said Faughnan.

Resident Cliff Potter stood up to encourage the Council to move ahead with the plan.

“I understand you have to be cautious, but also courageous,” he said. “That’s a solid building [STW] up there and those buildings are not solid. We’re heating three buildings. We got lucky this year with a mild winter. You have to put all your eggs in that one basket that will hold them properly. I know you’re facing situations, but keeping those two buildings open, I don’t think you’re watching our tax dollars.”

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