Friday, October 15, 1999
FinCom worries about Saint Irene purchase
At their October 4 meeting, finance committee members agreed to delay a vote on a recommendation on the town's proposed purchase of the former Saint Irene Church from the North Middlesex Savings Bank until they could hear recommendations from the municipal land committee. Nearly all expressed reservations about buying the property.
The current estimate of the total costs is about $285,000, which includes costs for financing, legal fees, demolition and clean-up, according to selectmen chair Doug Stevenson.
The selectmen believe the property's town center location, with sidewalks contemplated along Bedford Road, could be useful to the town in the future, Stevenson told the FinCom. Members Charlie Parker, Simon Platt and Dave Ives agreed with chair Tony Allison's concern about the town's current fiscal situation and future costs of construction.
Responding to questions from Ives, Stevenson stated that the town had not included any promises concerning any other properties in the center in their agreement with the bank.
Member Tom Bilotta was also concerned with what the "municipal purposes" stipulated in the Town Meeting Warrant article and ballot override question could mean. Among the many possible uses of the property suggested so far are an extension of the Village Court elderly housing, affordable housing, a community center or recreation facilities, according to Stevenson. Bilotta cautioned Stevenson that recreation would not be acceptable to the abutters; possibly housing would be the only palatable use for the property, he speculated. Moreover, if the town makes the lot more attractive by clearing and maintaining it, abutters might never agree to any active use by the town, he warned. Stevenson mentioned his worry about traffic hazards for young people at that location.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito