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Buildings need work

The town is continuing to pay for repairs mandated by the state at its highway garage.

The town is continuing to pay for repairs mandated by the state at its highway garage. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

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The Town of Westport has put together a committee to look at the possibility of renovating the town hall/WADA building.

— The Town of Westport is looking into potential renovations to the current town hall but is “pouring money” into another facility, according to Supervisor Daniel Connell.

“At the highway garage, we have been cited for eight or nine violations from our fueling situation to drainage and all sorts of issues,” Connell said. “We have spent a ton of money in the last two months trying to get that building into compliance.”

Connell said that the town is currently working with engineers and an environmental testing firm to resolve some of the violations, which stem from the age of the building and some equipment.

“We have to replace a door, install new steps, we have concrete areas that are contaminated, we have to relocate electrical equipment — we are spending a lot of money on a very old building that will still not be able to meet our needs,” Connell said.

Connell said that he knew that the citations from the state were coming, something he had hinted to during the campaign to pass a bonding resolution to build a new municipal center near the site of the current town garage.

“All of the regulatory agencies have been back there and have now cited us, as we knew was going to happen,” Connell said. “That is why we are trying to be as pro-active as we can with the town hall, because now, without the consolidation grant, every penny that we spend will come from the town budget.”

Connell said that the committee looking into the town hall is being chaired by planning board frontman Bill Johnston and includes town councilmen Michael “Ike” Tyler and Daniel McCormick.

“I am looking to find out what it will entail to modernize the building in all ways, including heating, cooling, ventilation and insulation,” Johnston said. “We need to look at ways the space we have can be used to better serve the needs of the town government, and I look forward to meeting with Ike and Dan to see what ideas they have.”

Johnston said that he hoped to have findings from the committee within six months, and that he was hoping members of the community would offer their suggestions.

“We will of course be looking for public input as we go through this process,” Johnston said.

“We want to see what Bill’s group comes up with, and then we will look for ways to finance it,” Connell said. “We have been looking into it, but there is no money out there that we know of right now.”

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