Bridgewater airs plan to fix old Grange Hall
Published 1:42 pm, Wednesday, October 19, 2016
BRIDGEWATER — Town officials will ask the public on Saturday about plans to fix the Grange Hall, an old civic building that was donated to the town in disrepair.
No vote will be taken at the 10 a.m. hearing at the Burnham School, 80 Main St. South.
First Selectman Curtis Read said it will be informational, explaining several “moving parts,” including a possible sale of town land, the potential purchase of land behind the Grange for a septic system and the feasibility of renovating the Grange or building a new facility on the site.
The Grange, built nearly a century ago and donated to the town in 1999, has several problems. It has lead paint throughout, rotten wooden doors, asbestos, slanted floors, and potentially a failing foundation.
According to a structural engineer the town hired in 2015: The building is in “very poor structural condition,” fails to accommodate the handicapped, has non-code-compliant kitchens and several foundation problems.
To further asses the structural integrity of the building, the town has hired architects and engineers from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation with $4,200 — which was matched by the trust — to evaluate historical significance and concerns, Read said.
In 2016, the town found more problems with the Grange. An oil tank, abandoned around 2000, had leaked. In April, the town removed pounds of “oil-soaked soil.”
Read said he is unsure whether the town should renovate the building or just build a new one. He has heard expensive estimates for renovation, he said, so he leans toward just building new.
Any changes to the Grange would create the need for a new septic system, Read said. And behind the Grange are two acres of empty land owned by St. Marks Church. The town has looked into buying that property with money it could make from the sale of four acres of town land along Lake Lillinonah.
Read said he is looking forward to Saturday’s hearing.
“I want some feedback from people,” he said. “I want to know if they think its a good or a bad idea to build new.”
Saturday’s presentation from the town can be found here: http://www.bridgewatertownhall.org/Pages/bridgewaterct_webdocs/grange.pdf
firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-731-3411; @bglytton