The Dedham Board of Selectmen held an informational public meeting on Thursday night in hopes of answering all questions and concerns about moving the Town Hall, police station and senior center to a vacant building on Rustcraft Road.
Mike Butler, chairman of the selectmen, said the total cost of the project would be $28 million, which is not expected to have an impact on residents’ taxes and will only be acquired if the two-thirds of registered Dedham voters approve it at next month’s Special Town Meeting.
Butler said the town plans to pay for this project by borrowing the money, and, subject to Town Meeting approval, to pay back that bond using the funds accumulated in the Robin Reyes Major Capital Facilities Stabilization Fund. This is the fund gathered from local option hotel and meals taxes. Currently, there is $3.5 million in the fund and projected revenues in the future average about $1.2 million a year, according to the selectmen.
If the Rustcraft Road building is acquired from the real estate investment company, Davis Company, Butler said the town will move the Town Hall, police station and senior center into the same 224,000 square foot building.
The new Town Hall would be 35,000 square feet, the police station would be 21,000 sq. feet and the senior center would be 16,000 sq. feet, if the project was approved.
Selectman Carmen DelloIacono said they also plan to build a cafeteria, parks and rec. garage, Town Engineers office, and lease out an ancillary office such as a Credit Union.
DelloIacono said the move would be beneficial to the town because it would provide a one-stop service for anyone needing assistance. It would also improve interaction and communication between various town departments, DelloIacono said.
If the relocation was made to Rustcraft Road, the selectmen explained that the existing Town Hall and police station could sell for a combined $2-3 Million and would be transformed into retail and office space and apartments.
If the project does not pass, The Town of Dedham would build a new police station and senior center and renovate the Town Hall which would cost a total of $37.1 million. Co-locating these same facilities at Rustcraft is estimated to cost $28 million.
Although the selectmen said they felt the Rustcraft building could present “a unique and important “opportunity for the town, many seniors in attendance did not agree.Alice Beth, a resident of Mother Brook Condos, believes the town does not want the senior center in the center of the town.
“How are people in their 70’s and 80’s and 90’s supposed to get there?," she asked. "There are no busses to get to that location. Why are the people of Dedham so afraid of having elders in the center? .. Why in God’s name can’t we have a senior center in the center of town?.”
Another senior citizen named Eileen, expressed doubt that the senior center would actually be built.
“If we vote, I just want a senior center,” she said.
Butler said the new Rustcraft Road location is centrally located and DelloIacono said the town is looking to extend the bus line to Rustcraft Road if the move is made.
The selectman also promised that the senior center would be built, if the project was approved.
They also assured resident that the building had was safe and had asbestos abatement conducted in 1986, 1993 and 2006.
Butler took all questions and tried to provide an answer to everyone.
“This is the value of these meetings,” Butler said. “Everyone leaves a little more educated.”
Selectmen will be giving tours of the Rustcraft building on Oct. 16 and 23 from 3 to 6 p.m. to any interested residents.