SWANSEA - The efforts to present a library, town hall and waterfront revitalization in town continued this past year and will be moving forward again this coming year.
An architectural plan presented by the Compass Group Architects for the new library will likely be scaled back after a meeting with representatives of the MassachusettsBoard of Library Commissioners. The plan would have combined the current library and Town Hall and place an addition. The state would put up to 48 percent into the construction, or $7 million. The current library at 5,840 square feet is among the smallest serving a community the size of Swansea. It has een noted that the building itself is in need of repair, particularly the foundation. The addition would be 14,194 square feet, bringing the total library to over 20,000 square feet.
The Library Building Committee will be deciding what tact to take when it meets next.
The Town Hall building committee has also been back to work and has the Compass Group as the designers for that facility as well. The committee has narrowed down the sites to the Town Hall Annex property, Ledge Road and the former Sears building at the Swansea Mall. They are also expected to meet sometime this month.
The Waterfront Revitalization Committee is also moving ahead. The town is preparing to award a contract for the demolition of the Bluffs building. That building suffered some burning and the town would like to remove it. It has been checked for rodents and would be abated for any asbestos. The bids have been in the mid $60,000 range.
The town received a $1 million grant from the Seaport Economic Council earlier this year. That grant money would go to the construction of new structures at the Town Beach. The town had a visit from Lt. Governor Karyn Polito who chairs that board. During that visit, the selectmen also signed on to the compact with the state that would open the way for grants for other projects in town.
The Waterfront Committee is hoping to begin dredging this year as well as looking into the demolition of the present Bluffs building and new construction.
Looking to the future, the School Committee promoted an article to purchase 27 acres of land near Case High School, to one day be used to construct a new school. The plan being floated at this time would have a new junior high school and then use the present junior high for third, fourth and fifth graders.
An article for $550,000 was brought to the Town Meeting, but was not approved by the voters. The Advisory and Finance Board had recommended against the purchase, pointing out that the appraised value of the property was $378,000.
The School Committee is now looking to other property near the high school as a possible site. They have emphasized that there are no plans for a new school at this point, but they were looking to purchase the land while it is available.
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