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Fall Town Meeting will vote on $2.2M to turn Grange Hall into community center

Nov 01, 2018 02:12PM ● By Lisa Redmond

Dracut Grange Hall

DRACUT – The Fall Town Meeting on Nov. 5 has only 26 Articles, but one Article sure to trigger some debate is a request that the town borrow $2.2 million to rehabilitate the old Grange Hall to be used as a multi-function community center and owned by the non-profit Christ Church United of Dracut.

Article 11 askes that the town borrow the money under the Community Preservation Act, which requires a vote of Town Meeting.

Officials agree the Grange Hall at 1367 Bridge St. requires significant rehabilitation. The goal is to convert the Grange Hall into a space for weddings or other gatherings, a local theatre, and a gallery for local artists and craftspeople.

Approval of the CPA funds for the project are contingent on the following requirements:

* Christ Church United must show it has done its due diligence as to hazardous or toxic material on the Grange Hall property.

* Complete a mutually agreed upon purchase and sale agreement between the Grange Hall Association and Christ Church United for the purchase of the Hall.

* Enter into a memorandum of understanding between Christ Church United and the Town of Dracut Community Preservation Committee and Town Manager about the use, requirements for rehabilitation and operations of the Grange Hall and its use of the funding. The MOU will include a preservation restriction and requirements for the rehabilitation of the property in accordance with the Community Preservation Act.

Other Articles include:

Article 3: To see if the town will vote to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 83, section 16 to establish a flat rate fee for the use of common sewers and main drains, and related stormwater facilities, which will be paid by those who are connected to municipal sewer.

Article 5: To see if the town will rescind the following borrowing authorizations:

A) Salt shed - $35,000. The balance of the project is not needed.

B) School Feasibility Study - $350,000. No borrowing was necessary because the town received a grant.

C) Water meters - $30,000. Money not needed.

D) Land acquisition - $63,000. Unspent Community Preservation Act funds for the Richardson property.

Article 6: Establish a revolving fund for the town’s flag program to be administered by Dracut’s Veterans’ Service Officer.

Article 7: To raise from taxes, transfer from available funds or borrow a sum of money for constructing, equipping and furnishing a new fire station at 539 Nashua Road. This includes demolition, site preparation, related design, architectural and engineering costs.

Article 8: To transfer $200,000 from the Fiscal Year 2018 sewer budget for upgrades and repairs to the Merrimack Avenue sewer pumping station.

Article 9: To see if the town will vote to add existing town-owned parcels at 55, 65, 73 and 99 Ontario Ave. to an approximate 17- acre parcel at 144 Greenmont Ave. and just under an acre of land at 1530 Bridge St.

Article 10: Asks the town to convey property at 144 Greenmont Ave. and 1530 Bridge St. – a total of 23.35 acres - to the Dracut Housing Authority for “nominal consideration.’’

Article 13: Seeks Town Meeting approval to amend the zoning map by rezoning a portion of property at 73, 97 and 103 Pleasant St. to industrial use from business.

Article 15: This is also a zoning article asking that a portion of property at 625 Broadway Road be rezoned to industrial from residential.

Article 16: Seeks to rezone property at 1089 Broadway Road to industrial from residential.

Article 17: Asks for the rezoning of 1471 Methuen St. from partial business and industrial to all industrial.

Article 18, 19 and 20: These articles ask that voters accept Draycott Avenue, Old Pasture Road and Border Drive making them a town-owned roads, respectively.

Article 21: Asks the voters to abandon a paper road labeled, “Varnum Avenue.’’

Article 22: Amend the zoning map changing the zoning from resident to business on the following properties: 1381 and 1367 Bridge St. and 10 Arlington St.

Article 24: To petition the state Legislature to have Ryan M. Charette, 32, eligible for appointment as a Dracut firefighter. Under civil service requirements, an applicant can be no older than 32 at the time he or she takes the entrance exam. Charette was shy of that deadline by a few months.

Article 45 (Referred from the Spring Town Meeting): This would allow any town employee who is in the military or a reserve to be receive their town salary and benefits if that person is deployed for more than 30 consecutive days. That amount will be reduced by the base pay the person receives from military service. The employee would also retain his or her seniority, vacation time, sick leave, personal time or other benefits

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