$780K bond would aid Addison Town Hall restoration

A VANDAL STRUCK Addison’s former — and possibly future — town hall on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Town officials were unnerved because an arsonist set fire to the Grange Hall in Ferrisburgh in 2005 as planning was under way to renovate it into a town office building and community center. Vermont State Police are investigating the graffiti applied to the Addison building along Route 22A in Addison Four Corners that similarly could be eventually restored for use as a town office and community center. Anyone with knowledge of the Addison incident may reach VSP at 388-4919.

In order for the town hall to be used again, we need septic there. We need a new town clerk’s office. This one is horrendous, overcrowded and in poor shape. So this is the start toward making a community center.
—John Spencer

ADDISON — Addison residents will vote on Sept. 24 on a bond of up to $780,000 to build an in-ground septic system on land west of the current town clerk’s office, a system that would serve the town’s Route 17 fire station, current office building and potential future town offices, and the Addison Community Baptist Church.
For more than a decade Addison officials have been working on creating a community septic system that would provide a solution to what they say are the troubled systems that now serve the fire station, clerk’s office and church, and provide septic service to the former town hall for the first time.
“We had an assessment of the wastewater needs in the Addison Four Corners area, and the fire department, the church and even the town clerk’s office all are at risk of potential failures,” said longtime Town Hall Committee Chairman John Spencer. “It’s just a matter of time.”
The future town offices are intended to be in the former Addison Town Hall, which until January was owned by the church. The two buildings are side-by-side on Route 22A in Addison Four Corners, across a parking lot from the town clerk’s office and Addison Central School.
The church deeded the former town hall back to the town with the understanding that the town would in exchange provide upgraded septic service to the church.
The Town Hall Committee has for years been eyeing the now-empty former town hall as a potential home for a new town clerk’s office. The building lacks plumbing as well as septic, but is reported to be structurally sound.
Meanwhile, the existing clerk’s office lacks adequate meeting, storage and work space, according to town officials. The committee envisions as a replacement installing a larger office in the lower level of the former town hall and a community meeting space on its upper level.
Spencer said the bond vote is the next step in that process.
“In order for the town hall to be used again, we need septic there. We need a new town clerk’s office. This one is horrendous, overcrowded and in poor shape,” he said. “So this is the start toward making a community center.”
Spencer said Addison should complete the town’s deal with the church to provide septic in exchange for the former town hall as well as provide septic to existing town buildings.
“We need to fill that part of the deal. They’ve already deeded the property over to us, with the promise we would connect them to a sewage system,” he said. “But … the fire department and town hall need septic.”
An informational meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. at the town’s nearby Route 17 fire station to present the details of the solution.
The in-ground system would be installed on land downslope from the town clerk’s office owned by the Gosliga farm, which has agreed to provide an easement to the town to allow its installation. Voters have already funded studies of the land’s suitability for and a design of a system that would meet all the buildings’ needs.
Spencer said it is “doubtful” state or federal aid will lower the $780,000 list price because Addison’s average income level is higher than the threshold for the program that would most likely support the improvement.
“We do receive a low-interest rate, though,” Spencer said.
The only easements other than the main easement for the installation on the acre or two needed for the system would be needed to work in the Route 17 right of way to reach the fire station, Spencer said.
Selectboard member Peter Briggs, designated to talk to the Independent by the board, said he believed the project deserved support because of the problematic systems it would replace, although he said he mostly still spoke for himself.
“As a board member I think this will be a good asset for the town,” Briggs said. “I’m a taxpayer, too, and I realize this is expensive, but this is a good investment.”
Briggs said town officials had “done our homework” on a project that would also improve drainage in the area, and he urged residents to vote on the 24th.
“The board always likes taxpayer input in big decisions,” he said.
Spencer said the committee has begun considering the future of the town hall building, including eyeing a stage in the community meeting space upstairs.
“We’re making more architectural plans. We’re waiting for a report back from the architect on the costs,” Spencer said. “So we have not gone very far in looking for grants, but that’s our next goal. We couldn’t go looking until we owned it. And now that we own it, the next step is to get this wastewater thing done. If the wastewater doesn’t go through we’re stalled again.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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