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Dedham Officials to Discuss Municipal Campus Tuesday, Private Ways Thursday

Both meetings will take place in the Dedham Middle School auditorium.

Credit: File photo.
Credit: File photo.

Dedham officials plan to hold two separate public meetings this week regarding two articles on this year's Town Meeting Warrant

The first meeting, set for Tuesday, will focus on Warrant Article 19, the proposed plan for developing a new "municipal campus" that would include Dedham Town Hall, the Dedham Police Department, the Dedham Senior Center and the Dedham Fire Department. 

The second meeting, set for Thursday, was originally scheduled for last week but was rescheduled. The meeting will focus on Article 33, which involves proposed changes to the town bylaws related to repairs and improvements to private ways in Dedham.

More information on the two meetings, including times, locations and subject matter, can be found below. 

Municipal Campus (Article 19) Meeting

Date & Time: Tuesday, April 29, 7 p.m.
Location: Dedham Middle School Auditorium, 70 Whiting Ave.
Subject: Information on the proposed municipal campus, including the Ames Schoolhouse, police station, senior center, town hall and fire department.

Officials will discuss Warrant Article 19, which would authorize the Dedham Board of Selectmen to establish a municipal campus at the intersection of Bryant and Washington streets.

The project would comprise three phases:

  • Phase I would involve the purchase and renovation of the Ames Schoolhouse building at 450 Washington St. for conversion to a Town Hall and Senior Center. The project would be completed by 2017.
  • Phase II would allow for substantial renovation and a small addition to the existing Dedham Town Hall so that it could be used as a new Dedham Police Department. This project would be completed by 2018.
  • Phase III would allow for the renovation and expansion of the Dedham Fire Department 10 years down the road.

Previously, officials sought to develop a municipal campus on Rustcraft Road at a Special Town Meeting in November 2013, which voters did not support. The idea to look at purchasing the Ames Schoolhouse was discussed, and officials have worked with an architectural firm to discuss construction cost estimates, the results of which can be found below:

  • Purchase Ames Schoolhouse: $5,850,000
  • Renovate Ames Schoolhouse: $10,103,000
  • Relocation Assistance for tenants: $1,000,000
  • Renovate Town Hall for Police: $7,796,000
  • Contingency: $2,227,000
  • Inflation: $1,308,000
  • TOTAL COST Phase I & II: $ 28,284,000

The town would pay for the project by issuing bonds, which would be repaid using funds accumulated in the Robin Reyes Major Capital Facilities Stabilization Fund, created in 2009, according to officials.

All transfers in and out of that fund, though, need to be approved by a two-thirds vote at Dedham's Annual Town Meeting.

The town, officials estimated, could borrow $28 million needed for the proposed project and repay it over the course of 30 years while still maintaining a balance of $1 million in the fund at all times, officials said.

Currently, Dedham owns the 1.5 acres of land on which the Town Hall and Fire Department are located. The Ames Schoolhouse, meanwhile, is located on 2.04 acres of land, and the purchase would create a 3.5-acre campus.

The new Dedham town Hall would occupy about 34,000 square feet of the Ames Schoolhouse's 50,000 square feet of gross floor area, while the senior center would comprise about 16,000 square feet.  

The current Dedham Town Hall comprises 18,000 square feet, and the proposed Dedham Police Department requires 21,000 square feet, which means a 3,000 square-foot addition would be needed.

For more information on the proposed municipal campus, click here.

Residents can also contact the Town Manager's office at 781-751-9100 for more information, as well.

Private Ways (Article 33) Meeting

Date & Time: Thursday, May 1, 7 p.m
Location:
 Dedham Middle School, 70 Whiting Ave.  
Subject: Information on the proposed changes to the town bylaws related to repairs and improvements to private ways.

The first meeting meeting will focus on the proposed changes to the town's bylaws relating to repairs and improvements to private roadways.

Currently, Dedham's bylaws limit the maintenance the town can actually perform on such roadways, and they require private-way abutters who would like to make the street a public way to first pay for upgrading the private way to current standards. Dedham currently has about 17 miles of private streets.

The proposed changes to the bylaw would change the process, so that in the future, the town could pay for up to 100 percent of the road improvements. The new process would require 100 percent of the abutters to support the change.

The meeting is sponsored by Selectman Chair Michael Butler and Planning Board Chair Michael Podolski.

For more information, contact Mike Butler at mikebutler53@verizon.net or 781-223-2468, or Mike Podolski at Lawmap1@Verizon.net or 781-329-2620.

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