Arts Center in Sprint to September, But With Hurdles

The Mother Brook Arts and Community Center is full-steam ahead, but a couple things could derail the project.


In the grand scheme of development projects, what members of the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center are trying to do is like an Olympic-speed 100-yard dash.

Kids moved out of the  on April 23, and painting, sculpting and teaching by September.

"This is something that could be so unique to Dedham and be so unique to [East Dedham] - part of the efforts we are involved in to revitalize this area," said Joe Heisler, a supporter of the project and Mother Brook Community Group member.

MBACC, formed in early February as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is busy raising funds and in search of volunteers to move the project forward.

Moving the arts center forward at such a quick pace would fulfill a promise made by the Avery Re-use Committee not to .

Despite the good feeling at a MBACC meeting on April 24, and a successful 5-0 endorsement by the Board of Selectmen on Thursday, a couple hurdles stand in the MBACC's way before they cut through the ribbon.

"There is so much to do," said Paul Reynolds, a .

For one, Town Meeting must approve the transfer of the four-acre property from the school department back to the Board of Selectmen. That comes with the knowledge that the selectmen are looking to lease the building.

The second hurdle is the process of winning the bid for the Avery School. The MBACC must put forth the best offer once the selectmen agree to put out a call for bid applications.

"The town doesn't lose anything," said selectman chair Carmen Dello Iacono. "We retain the building. We own it. We will always own it. We are leasing it."

The winning bidder will be responsible for maintenance and utilities once their contract begins, Dello Iacono said, adding that any group could win the bid.

"It will have to go out for a [request for proposal]. It will not just be handed to one group," Dello Iacono said in a phone interview.

Organizers said they hope they win the bid and can work with selectmen on a long-term contract.

"We would need to work with the selectmen on some sort of lease agreement, and at the same time continue building organization," Heisler said.

If the MBACC moves forward and wins the bid, leaders said they want artists in there working by September, and that's when they'll begin applying for to rehabilitate the former school with better accessibility and more suitable for its intended purpose.

For supporters, the center serves as another welcomed development to enhance East Dedham. First was the new Avery Elementary School, and now would be the transformation of its predecessor.

"This building, this parcel right on Mother Brook is a choice piece of land. It is a gateway to East Dedham," Reynolds said.

The group has much work in front of them - and a few battles left to fight within Dedham - but supporters are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.

"[I] guarantee 25 years from now, East Dedham is going to be the hip, happening place to live," Reynolds said. "It will be the place you really want to hang out."

Susan Paquette May 02, 2012 at 11:52 AM
What a cool place!
Peggy May 02, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Will music programs be included in the center?
Karen May 02, 2012 at 05:22 PM
There are alot of artists Round the corner at 1 westinghouse plz. Maybe we can get involved in the future?


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