Town Hall Committee

Option for Rye Town Hall – LTE from Steven Borne

March 14, 2013 2:00 AM Portsmouth Herald:

March 12 — To the Editor:

While the Rye Town Hall Article 4 did pass, there is a chance that the specific wording of the warrant may prevent our town leaders from investigating what may be an optimal solution for Rye.

The small, inexpensive house behind the safety building is for sale. If the town can acquire that property, a new and more elegant solution may be possible. The large space above the apparatus bay could be utilized by shifting much of the nonpublic areas to that second-floor space. Instead of stuffing an addition on or a new building near the existing Town Hall (what the warrant article states), the new addition would go on the rear side of the safety building. Between this new space, the abdicated areas of the safety building, storage space at the old police station and locating Rye recreation office space in the current Town Hall, we would be maximizing our existing space and minimizing the size of any new construction. Work would still be required at the current Town Hall, but as a much smaller project.

This approach has many natural advantages. We would create a town center between the library, town museum, town office and the safety building. No addition would be required for the historic Town Hall, the office transition could be very smooth, and we would maximize the utilization of space we already have and free up the beautiful auditorium in our historic Town Hall building. If Rye recreation office space and some functional needs are met at the existing Town Hall, then this could minimize the future investments required to replace the modular and decrepit buildings at the Rye recreation facility. If not, it may be a long time before improvements are made to the Rye recreation buildings.

If you like this idea, you need to personally speak up and let the Board of Selectmen know what you think — just e-mail, write a letter or make a statement at one of the BOS meetings. This one letter will not do much, but you speaking up can make a huge difference.