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Foxborough Town Planner Says Town Hall Needs to be Addressed, Should Stay in Downtown

Foxborough Town Planner Sharon Wason says the current Town Hall is in “real rough shape” and the condition of the building needs to be addressed.

Built 48 years ago, Foxborough’s Town Hall has seen better days, according to Town Planner Sharon Wason.

“Whenever it rains, we get water in through the old garage,” Wason said, whose office is in the basement of Town Hall next to the old police dispatch center. “We get water that comes in through the windows. There’s mold … you can just smell the disgusting mold … there’s old jail cells. That’s what’s the matter with the [basement].”

Go upstairs to the main floor and it doesn’t get much better.

“Above the suspended ceiling on the second floor there’s no ceiling, it just goes up to the attic and there’s between an inch or so of dust that includes lead and gunpowder and all that horrible stuff,” Wason said. “Whatever is up above the ceiling, when it rains and the ceiling leaks, it comes down.”

The original front door of Town Hall has been converted into storage space because the municipal building has become too small for all the town departments it holds.

“There’s no space for town workers at Town Hall,” said Wason. “People are literally working on top of each other with no office space. … Town Clerk’s office has three people in one room.”

The Building Inspector’s office has tested positive for high concentrations of lead, according to Wason.

“It’s just short of being a ‘sick building,'" Wason said.

Following a presentation by architects of Kaestle Boos Associates that showed it would cost over $2 million to make basic repairs to the current Town Hall, selectmen agreed it’s not financially responsible to spend money on fixing the current building.

Selectmen voted unanimously at its Sept. 18 meeting to support a Town Meeting Warrant article to appropriate funds from the town’s Capital Stabilization account to move forward in the process of constructing a new Town Hall on the same site as the current building.

“It’s not a building you can renovate,” said Board of Selectmen vice chair Mark Sullivan. “I do this for a living. It’s not going to work out.”

The other board members agreed.

“I don’t think anyone is talking about renovating,” said Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis.

The amount of money needed to move forward with final design of a new Town Hall was estimated at $500,000 by Sullivan and Town Manager Kevin Paicos, referring to an estimate done last spring.

“That would need to be updated,” Paicos said.

Paicos is expected to discuss with selectmen at Tuesday’s meeting options for funding a new Town Hall.

Wason said she believed Town Hall, whether new or renovated, should remain at its current site.

“With the library they are building on top of it,” Wason said. “We really feel strongly that Town Hall should remain downtown in the center of town.”

Foxborough resident and Patch blogger, Dick Heydecker, believes Town Hall can be fixed without being replaced, as stated in the following blog posts:

  • BLOG: New Foxborough Town Hall ... Again
  • NEW TOWN HALL @ SPECIAL TOWN MEETING!
  • NO ON ARTICLE 3 - NO NEW TOWN HALL!
  • DON’T CONFUSE US WITH DISSENT! We want to spend $3 million more!!!

Wason says she expects the issue of Town Hall to be an ongoing topic until it’s addressed – one way or another – by voters at Town Meeting. But in the meantime, it’s become a challenging place to work.

“It’s in real tough shape,” Wason said.

Call for Comments: Are you in favor of the town building a new Town Hall? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

Dennis Naughton October 03, 2012 at 02:54 AM
How about the current post office building? Seems like there might be more room over there. The current site seems too limited. A comparison should be investigated. Best of all, if there is space at Chestnut Green we should build there, as we should have done earlier with the library--leaving the current library space for a new town hall. The town is growing. Let's not be so limited in our view of "downtown." Another possibility is the old fire station and the old Keating Funeral Homer property, which the town owns. They are contiguous and have an excellent combined pissibility for a multi-storey town hall.
Chris A October 03, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Even if some of these existing structures aren't 100% ideal how about adding an addition? Seems like they could save at least 1 or 2 million somewhere in there if they really tried. Not hearing a lot of 'thinking outside the box' from these town officials thus far.
Ken B. October 03, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Town Hall should be gutted & renovated, not built new. Parking in proximity is a necessity. Think about the new library for a moment, with the parking area gone....mom with two little ones going there for storytime. Park by the RR tracks and walk up, or at the common, and take your chances on the crosswalk ? Poor poor planning, all the way around.
Dick Heydecker October 14, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Dick Heydecker, Bill, unfortunately it is NOT the most efficient and cost effective solution; the $5 million is more space efficient and cost effective Plan!
R. Hood October 14, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Sounds like the BOS wants to build Foxboro's equivalent to the Federal Courthouse downtown. (Marble Tile, Solid Gold Faucets, etc.....) Do we really need an 8mil (100% financed) building to pay your water bill at and a place for Paicos to hang his crown?

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