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New committee taking a look at town hall plans
Litchfield.bz (02-07-18)


What the best option would be for replacing the cramped and outdated Town Hall in Litchfield is the job of a new committee established by the Board of Selectmen.
 
The Town Hall Review Committee is analyzing plans to turn the former Litchfield County courthouse into a town hall, build a new town hall on the lot behind Town Hall, and expand Town Hall.
 
The committee began its task Monday and is expected to have a recommendation ready for the selectmen by late summer or early fall. Selectmen could decide to bring the recommendation to a referendum.
 
Serving on the committee are Selectman Jeffrey Zullo, Town Clerk Lisa Losee, Board of Finance member Richard Quay, first selectman secretary Ann Coombs, and residents James Hilby, Jason Travelstead and Denise Raap.
 
The committee is charged with reviewing the three plans and deciding if they are feasible. It’s the latest in a decade-long effort to address the issue of Town Hall, an antiquated facility too small to hold all town offices. Five offices are located in the Town Hall Annex in Bantam.
 
The plan for the old courthouse was prepared by its new owner, the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust. The price tag to turn the building into a town hall is an estimated $5.2 million. With 18,000 square feet, the building is large enough to accommodate all town offices.
 
The plan for a new town hall carries an estimated cost of $5.9 million. At 15,525 square feet, the building would be to house all town offices. This plan was issued in 2014 and its cost estimate revised in 2016.
 
The plan to expand Town Hall into a 20,000 square-foot building dates to 2008. The price tag then was $6 million. With inflation, the estimated cost is now about $8 million. Under the plan, the main floor of the building would be demolished and the foundation would be increased in size to support a larger structure.
 
The expansion plan would require town offices to be relocated temporarily. A vault would have to be built or rented to store the town clerk’s records.