The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 18, 2008


Highland Study Committee gathers ideas

The Highland Building Study Committee’s eventual report will represent “a consensus on what we think will be acceptable to all parties,” said Selectman and committee member Alan Carpenito at the study group’s April 9 meeting. He stressed, “We need to get everybody on board.”

Built on School Street in 1908, the building is currently vacant. The Selectmen have asked the study committee to look into potential costs and benefits of alternatives for the property, including moving or demolishing the structure.

The group’s presentation to the Selectmen will include a table that would allow the Selectmen to see each option as well as a combination of options. It will also include input from the Carlisle School Committee and Superintendent Marie Doyle. To that end, the Highland Committee is now editing and consolidating a list of questions for the superintendent.

“Does it look big and scary or does it look manageable?” asked John Ballantine as Ken Hoffman distributed a proposed format for making cost estimates of possible uses of the building. “I don’t want to get into that,” laughed Hoffman, “but I think we’ll have manageable numbers in the context of other figures.” He added, “This will be ballpark, conceptual estimating.”

Alternative funding sources will also make up a part of the presentation. Hoffman said that he had been researching the effect on funding that might occur if the building were to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). There is no specific information yet about how much or what sort of funding might be available, but the restoration architects and contractors that Hoffman consulted all advised that the building be nominated for NRHP status.

It is known that the Historical Commission has taken some action on this, and Carpenito volunteered to contact Larry Sorli of the Historical Commission to get current information. Once the building is listed, Hoffman said, there are possibilities for grants. “Unless the decision-makers deem Carlisle to be unworthy, I think [the building] is a slam dunk to be listed,” he added.

Continuing the discussion of the previous meeting, the committee welcomed former Recreation Co-director and candidate for Selectman, Cindy Nock, who provided some institutional memory about the Recreation Commission (RecCom). She voiced the opinion that, “The school, I think, would be very interested in having a RecCom presence right on campus instead of just at Town Hall. There would be the possibility of more classes for kids, and the adult classes could be held at night or in Town Hall. It’s more sensible to have the RecCom office near the school because kids, not adults, need supervision. In foul weather, the kids could just go on over to the RecCom office, instead of being stranded if an outdoor class had to be cancelled.”

The Highland Committee also considered information from the April 5 town planning event hosted by A Liveable Carlisle Community (LCC). They heard requests for, among other things, pre-school drop-in, teen, and senior centers, and decided to consider the ideas as possibilities for town use of the Highland Building. ∆

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