After much discussion and public input, the BoS decided last evening to place a warrant article to finally decide the long open community center issue.
In 2013, the legislative body directed the BoS by a 65% majority, to pursue development of a facility per the 2011 Blue Ribbon Commission report. In 2014, voters approved $17,500 by a 61% majority to fund a site study for such a facility "on or adjacent to school property."
A UNH team was brought in to perform a feasibility study for a gym facility in 2014 and a Town team performed a detailed review of their report and recommendations. They recommended that the BoS authorize a financial study to determine the real cost to build and operate such a facility so that a warrant article can be put to the voters in 2016 to finally decide this issue.
The BoS in September 2015 also directed that the facility be all inclusive and be called a community center encompassing the Lions Club building functions.
The conceptual design was for a 19,600 square foot building at a cost of $215 per square foot and the estimated cost of the project is $6.5 million. More discussion by the BoS will occur in the very near future as to the final wording of the warrant article. A bond will be the main mechanism for proposed payment and that will require a 66% yes vote to pass at Town Meeting. Municipal bonds must be acted on prior to any other business at Town meeting with the exception of the election of officers and zoning questions. Voting must be by secret ballot and voting must be open for at least an hour after discussion on the article has ended.