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Selectmen Discuss Avery Re-Use Request for Proposal

RFP will specify re-use for the school as an arts and community center and require financial self-sustainability from any proposer.

Just three days after a Town Meeting  the , selectmen Sarah MacDonald and Michael Butler presented to the board guidelines they had drafted for the forthcoming request for proposal (RFP) at its May 24 meeting.

The guidelines would require that any proposer plan to use the site as an arts and community center, though it would allow some flexibility within that framework. They would also protect the town from making much of, if any, financial commitment to the project.

According to MacDonald, the RFP will...

  • Require that the building is leased as is...
  • Specify that the re-use is as an arts and community center. Examples, she said, would include studio and gallery space, recreational or afterschool programs, arts and educational programs, space for meetings and performances, and facility space for organizations and non-profits...
  • Require that the proposer take responsibility for operation and maintenance costs, including repairs, utilities, landscape maintenance, and snow and trash collection...
  • Set the terms of the lease...
  • Require that proposers show a capability or plan for financial self-sustainability...
  • And allow proposers the opportunity to inspect the site prior to drafting a proposal.

The RFP will not:

  • Require specific uses within the arts and community center framework...
  • Require the board to make a selection if they are not happy with the proposals they receive...
  • Or suggest any particular repairs or improvements to the facilities.

Once the RFP is posted, interested parties will have 30 days to submit a proposal.

So far, the non-profit group Mother Brook Arts and Community Center is the only entity to show interest in transforming the school, saying they would like to move in to the space .

Board member Paul Reynolds was grateful for his colleagues' quick turnaround in drafting the guidelines, saying it was important to keep the amount of time in which the structure stood vacant minimal.

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