By Kim Siebert MacPhail
One week after Town Meeting debated whether to spending another $100,000 on restoration and accessibility updates for the historic passenger train depot building, the Selectmen learned that estimates indicate an additional $33,000 will be needed to fund “design services, construction contingency, advertising and a project sign,” as required by the project’s potential funding partner, the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Because the Town has also applied for a $100,000 grant from the Commission—and because that grant is contingent upon Bedford supporting the remaining costs of the project—Town Manager Rick Reed asked the Selectmen to consider approving $33,000 that would to be transferred from the Historic Properties Preservation portion of the Community Preservation Fund.
“After the warrant went to press and after the Community Preservation budget was finalized, we got the price estimate from the project architect and the total came to $233,000,” Reed explained. “It was too late to adjust the CPA appropriation request upwards by $33,000, so what we have identified [as a way to address this] is to request a transfer from the Historic Properties Preservation fund.”
Reed said the cost estimate revision and information about how to move ahead has been sent to the Community Preservation Committee, but no date has yet been set for them to meet.
“We’re waiting for that process to take place. It is possible that we will come back to the Selectmen after that Community Preservation Committee meeting and suggest a request for approval of a $33,000 transfer from the Historic Properties Preservation fund,” Reed said.
“They don’t actually have to approve it, they just have to be consulted,” Reed explained, “but I think because of concerns that were aired publically [at Town meeting], no one is trying to push this through without making sure that [the] Community Preservation Committee is comfortable [with it]. At some point, however, the Selectmen might decide to go ahead [with the project]. In the end, a lot depends also on whether we get the grant, which we won’t know until towards the end of June.”
If the grant application is not successful or the amount is not $100,000, the maximum that can be awarded, then the project would be scaled down.
Reed and the Selectmen also discussed the concerns expressed by some at Town Meeting regarding the impacts of the project on tenants of the depot building.
“We did meet with each of the tenants prior to Town Meeting to discuss the project with them,” Reed said. “We’ve actually provided follow-up information to them about how much more window area would be created in some of the spaces. They still have some more questions about the technical aspects of how the project will be carried out.”
Reed said that Facilities Director Richard Jones will meet again with the tenants to address more of their concerns.
To read the article about the Town Meeting controversy about the depot project, visit: https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2013/04/05/depot-renovation-sparks-controversy-but-passes/