By Grace Ballenger, Editor
To preserve Town Hall for the future, the Holliston Town Hall Renovation Committee arranged repairs on the building that began in early April.
The plans for the renovations include replacing 40% of the existing wood to prevent further rotting, stripping the paint, priming and repainting the exterior, replacing the gutters and downspouts, replacing the chimneys and redoing the roof, said Paul LeBeau, town hall employee and member of the Renovation Committee.
“The board approved the contractor in early April and they had 155 days to complete work, which would bring them to mid-October,” said Jon Juhl, head of the Renovation Committee. However, Juhl says that the construction crews are “well ahead of schedule” and that they “hope to finish by summer.”
Several years ago the Renovation Committee noticed that the paint on the building was peeling and hired the Building Conservation Associates (BCA) to determine why the paint was not lasting. The BCA determined that the problem was moisture in the walls and the large number of layers of paint, according to a press release provided by the Renovation Committee.
“Paint was peeling, the downspouts were falling off, some of the wood was rotting and some of the chimneys were starting to fall apart,” said LeBeau, who agreed that renovation needed to occur.
Funding for the project was provided by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC).
Samuel Tyler, the head of the CPC said that the committee provided $695,000 for the project while the town provided an additional $40,000. The CPC is allotted 1.5% of the money collected by the town property tax. The state then matches 20% of the total money collected by the CPC.
“It is one of the bigger proposals approved by the Community Preservation Committee over the past few years,” said Tyler who worked to be sure that the taxpayer dollars that were being spent on the project were going to be well spent.
However, the committee was able to justify the use of the money. Tyler said that the project was never “a matter of not acting. If we hadn’t [acted] the building would deteriorate to the point where it could not be used.”
Town Hall is one of the two buildings in town on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The building has a Historic Preservation Agreement, which means that permission must be obtained from the Massachusetts Historical Commission prior to beginning any work on the building, Juhl said.
In the end Tyler said renovations will help improve the building’s aesthetic appeal.
LeBeau agreed, adding that the committee is “glad to be able to fix these problems. As people drive through town [they] notice that the Congregational Church and St. Mary’s have done a lot of work on their buildings, and it’s up to us to fix this place up so it’s not an eyesore anymore.”