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Selectmen put Town Hall decision on back burner
Litchfield.bz (06-05-19)


 

Litchfield Town Hall. Peter Tavino photo

Discussion of what to do with Town Hall in Litchfield is over for an indefinite period.

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday essentially punted the issue to the board that will be seated following the municipal election in November. Selectmen also voted to rescind their April 2 decision to authorize a study of an expansion and renovation of the outdated and space-challenged Town Hall.

Expanding and renovating the building would cost at least $5 million, according to preliminary estimates. Selectmen have also heard from a group of residents who support turning the former Bantam School into a town hall. The old school's tenants include five town departments.

In discussion Tuesday, selectmen decided it would be wise to delay action until at least after the November election, which could leave the board with a different composition. The board resisted the temptation to reactivate the Town Hall Review Committee that last year considered a proposed new town hall for $9.2 million and a proposal to turn the former Litchfield courthouse into a town hall for up to $7.6 million.

The committee ended up recommending the plan for the courthouse, but the proposal was soundy rejected by voters in a referendum last December.

Had it been reactivated, the committee would have been charged with studying an expansion and renovation of Town Hall and might have been asked to look at turning the former Bantam School into a town hall. An expansion and renovation of Town Hall would allow it to accommodate the offices located in Bantam.

There will be some changes made in the former school this summer as the offices in the Town Hall Annex section of the building will be moved as a cost-savings measure. The offices will relocate to the part of the building where Bantam Superior Court was before it moved out in 2017. The Town Hall Annex section would then be closed off to save the cost of heating and air conditioning it.

Public works Director Raz Alexe has been charged with coordinating the move. The old school's faulty boiler will be replaced as part of the process, First Selectman Leo Paul Jr. said.

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