Link to Herald Letter to the editor: Click Here
- Rye Town Hall project, running off the rails
Posted Sep. 17, 2015 at 2:01 AM
Sept. 14 — To the Editor:
Thanks to the Town Hall survey signs, I have been fielding a lot of Town Hall questions and here is what I have been telling those inquiring minds. Without a doubt our Town Hall building is past due for maintenance and departments could use additional space. In 2011 we spent $40,000 to figure out if the Town Hall building was worth investing in and to get an idea of space requirements. From that point on, the management of this effort has run off the rails. We have approved and spent another $310,000, wasted four years and the recent Town Hall Survey is more a sales pitch delivering fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) than a tool to give us unbiased information. In addition to the agenda driven FUD (listen to one of our selectmen at 32:12 at the Aug. 26 meeting on www.townhallstreams.com), questions about the other key options were missing and why is it relevant how long you have lived in NH or Rye? I would have wanted to know how many others believe we should not renovate, re-configure or expand until all the records from the Safety Building construction are un-sealed so we can see the facts around why the town had to pay to settle the lawsuit we started.
There is a lot of space in the Safety Building, while the town investigated making the 6,000 square feet above apparatus bay available for public use, that was the more expensive option. The town has yet to thoroughly evaluate the more practical option of shifting some of the Police and Fire rooms above the apparatus bay (they wouldn’t require a second elevator to be built) and re-configuring the building to make the basement, first and second floors available for other town uses. Additionally, there is underutilized space next door at the Rye Congregational Church and potentially more space when we finally replace the old modular buildings at Rye Recreation and the decrepit buildings at the Transfer Station.
The bottom line is that the town will continue to flounder since we have not been able to take the next step beyond the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP – a host of committee members have done a great job with this over the last several years). While we have the “Master Plan” (note, it does call out the need for more of a town center), but not a plan that takes the items from the CIP and balances the timing of investments for our local government segments (town services, recreation, conservation, schools, sewer, library, water, beach districts…) as well as addressing the pollution problem at Parson’s Creek.
I have consistently raised these points to our town leaders, but my inputs appear to fall upon deaf ears. If you share these sentiments about utilizing existing space and better investment planning, you too need to speak up.