The back side of Memorial Hall, with the Crafts Inn behind it. (Chris Mays/Reformer)
The back side of Memorial Hall, with the Crafts Inn behind it. (Chris Mays/Reformer)

WILMINGTON -- The material planned for use on the rear deck extension project at Memorial Hall will not be changed after all.

"We were considering using wood in an effort to make it blend in more with the historical building," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy.

On Dec. 2, the town had an application to be heard by the Development Review Board involving the support structure where a heating ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, unit is planned to be located, although the timeline for construction is still in the air. The town withdrew its application before the hearing.

Murphy told the Reformer that after discussing the proposed change with DRB members and abutters, it was decided that steel would be the safer option for the deck. They had considered plowing as well as future flood events.

"Because the town has withdrawn its application, the DRB doesn't need to do anything," said Zoning Administrator Alice Herrick. "The town has previous approval, so there is permission to put the deck on the back of the building. Having withdrawn the request for material, it will go back to the previous approval."

The town is still working on coming to an agreement with abutting landowners on both sides, Crafts Inn General Manager Alice Richter and Incurable Romantic owner Cindy Beaudette.

There has been concern about liability during construction and maintenance as well as aesthetics regarding the deck. The abutters filed a lawsuit with the Environmental Court, which caused a delay for the town's plans to extend the rear building out by 10 feet wide, 30 feet long and 12 feet high for the HVAC appliance.

The hearing was also meant to give abutters a chance to weigh in on the construction. Attorneys on both sides have been in contact with the town, said Murphy.

"We received a liability coverage waiver with insurance kind of language that we submitted to the adjoining property owners, which will cover them for the support structure and installation of the HVAC," he added. "It's project-specific liability coverage."

The town also is attempting to improve the aesthetics by covering or hiding the unit from the rear. With a new walking path that leads to the Hoot, Toot and Whistle Trail, where the unit could be visible, there was some concern regarding the design.

"I know the Crafts Inn side is very concerned with hiding it, if you will," said Murphy. "Because it's just a giant air conditioning unit. We're having LineSync design a covering to allow the unit to breathe still, which will blend in with the steel unit and structure support."

Herrick will look over the design after LineSync submits it to the town. The same architecture firm had previously designed the plans that the DRB approved.

"We're getting close I feel and I hope (to an agreement)," concluded Murphy.

In an earlier interview, he told the Reformer that with all the interior work completed at Memorial Hall, the exterior work could be finished within a week.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.