Richmond’s first downtown center on track for completion in spring 2023 | Central Berkshires

RICHMOND – Construction of the $ 6.8 million downtown project is expected to begin by the end of March, with a completion date in the spring of 2023.

This is the schedule for the City Hall / Library / Community Center complex on city-owned land adjacent to the Richmond Consolidated School. The project update was presented Tuesday evening by the municipal construction committee at the town hall.

“It is a magnificent site; we’re where we want to be, ”said committee chair Pat Callahan. “You are creating a city center, with the school,” added project manager Daniel Pallotta.

“Right now we’re at the start of a difficult phase because now we have to afford it,” Callahan told The Eagle in an interview. “It’s tough there right now. … I am hopeful and excited; this building is going to be fantastic for the city.

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The Richmond downtown project site, just below the Richmond Consolidated School, in the center.

A 30-year bond to finance the project will follow acceptance of the lowest construction bid in about two months, based on final and firm cost details. A short-term loan of $ 500,000 for engineering and architectural design work will be repaid from the proceeds of the bond, Callahan said.

She continues to call it “the municipal building; it doesn’t have a good name yet, some people call it the community center, but I’m afraid of that because I don’t want to imply that it’s something it’s not. This is not South Berkshire. “

Berkshire South is the Great Barrington-based regional community center that features a swimming pool, fitness classes, personal training and babysitting services.

The story so far

At last May’s annual meeting, 25% of the city’s registered voters approved, 270-34, long-term funding of up to $ 6.8 million for construction, design, engineering. , the development, construction, equipment and furnishings of the building.

This is the city’s largest capital investment since the $ 6.2 million renovation and expansion of the Consolidated School 21 years ago. The state covered almost two-thirds of the cost.

Why is this important

A $ 1.9 million project to replace the badly deteriorated centennial town hall and cramped rented library space was offered to residents in 2002 and revised in 2005, but failed each time by a handful of voices.

This year, with low interest rate funding of 2.5% available, the proposal garnered broad support from city administrator Danielle Fillio, selected board members Alan Hanson, Roger Manzolini and Neal Pilson, finance committee chairman Robert Gniadek and his committee members, as well as many locals.

It has helped that the funding for the year 2000 school expansion will be repaid this spring.

The bottom line

The annual debt service for the new project, by repaying principal and interest, would cost the city $ 308,000, without the annual payment of $ 150,000 for the school.

For homeowners, the estimated impact on property taxes would be $ 37 per $ 100,000 of assessment assessed. The owner of a home with a median value of $ 352,000 would pay an additional $ 130 per year. The owner of an average home priced at $ 406,000 would see a property tax increase of $ 150 per year.

As to the future of the current dilapidated town hall, Manzolini said it would be offered for sale “as is”. If no buyer responds, it would be demolished to “take it off the city’s books. We don’t intend to keep the building.” It would have taken at least $ 3 million for the town hall to comply with the code, he noted.

After the money

Preliminary cost estimates are slightly higher than expected, admitted Pallotta, the project manager. The increases bring challenges to the site, he said. After three percolation failures, the septic system had to be moved further away from the building to avoid wet areas, and a separate fire protection system is needed, rather than sharing that of the school, as originally planned. The cost estimates for the building itself are on target, Pallotta said.

But, he clarified that “the ultimate estimate is the offer” from general contractors responding to project announcements that will be distributed early next month. Pallotta of P-Three at Norwell and architect Curtis Edgin of Caolo & Bieniek Associates in Chicopee expressed confidence that “we will be able to cross the finish line”.

The lowest responsible bid from a qualified general contractor must be accepted and is expected to be awarded and announced in early February, Pallotta said.

About $ 235,000 raised by the Friends of the Richmond Library could be used as a buffer, if needed, Callahan noted.

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