Wednesday October 10, 2012

ATHENS -- To renovate or to buy -- that is the question.

A special town meeting has been warned for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, to allow citizens an opportunity to talk about whether they want to restore the Town Office to its former glory or purchase a modular to be delivered. The meeting will be held at the Town Garage on Brookline Road, according to Town Clerk Darlene Wyman.

The subject has been a frequent topic of discussion in Athens over recent months, as between 40 and 50 people showed up at the Town Garage in August to determine which possibilities should be explored. The Athens Selectboard proposed each option -- which included paying to construct a new building -- and it went to discussion.

The meeting will be run by Selectboard Chairman Michael Bates, who previously told the Reformer the townspeople seemed to not want to spend much on a building that is used just 20 hours per week.

"I told them that whether it’s 20 hours a week or 200 hours a week, there are state and federal laws that must be (adhered to)," he said, citing industrial codes and regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Bates said the cost to renovate the current building or constructing is about $225,000. He said some people felt it is a lot of money to spend in such a small town.

He said he has spoken with a man in Pennsylvania about getting a used modular building.


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If the town opts to go with one that is already built, it would have to be moved to town and put into place. A modular, Wyman said, would be purchased, brought Athens and set on concrete slabs.

She said the building needs to be about 36-by-28-square-feet in size to accommodate all of the town’s needs. She said a space a little bigger than that might be the best option, as it would allow enough room to hold annual Town Meetings, which are currently held at Athens Elementary School.

The current Town Office, Wyman said, was built as a schoolhouse in the 1800s.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.