As the Tusten town board entertains the idea of selling our historic town hall to relocate to the newly acquired bank building on Main Street, I looked at the value of the entirety of the current …
As the Tusten town board entertains the idea of selling our historic town hall to relocate to the newly acquired bank building on Main Street, I looked at the value of the entirety of the current town hall building.
The town hall (not including the theater) has double the square footage as the bank. The offices would fit, but we would lose the 2,500 square foot basement space in the community hall, which is essential for government functions and community events. The board has not provided answers to the public as to where these functions would be held if we sold the building.
I don’t believe we should sacrifice the town polling place, the location for all town meetings and our Justice Court, the designated emergency warming station during extreme weather, the visiting DMV, the Tusten Repair Café, and the Meals on Wheels kitchen space. If we were to build a second story on the bank building to try to accommodate these services, it would take years, with great cost to the taxpayers, which is an undue burden during our present costly water infrastructure project.
In addition, the community hall generates income for the town by providing space for bridal and baby showers, receptions, flea markets, karate class for children and more.
In 1990, the DVAA invested $300,000 in the Tusten Theater, which is the heart of the building. Should the town abandon our lease with the DVAA and put an end to cultural events like the Big Eddy Film Festival, theatrical productions, lectures and concerts?
The town hall has been upgraded to serve the community. The taxpayers have recently paid for a new roof, a new generator, a new efficient boiler, air-source heat pumps, a stairwell lift, all-LED lights in and outside the entire building and an ADA-compliant bathroom. We’ve all invested in this building and our community services must be considered and preserved.
In 1925, the Narrowsburg Fire Department voted to build a new “firehouse/community hall.” Shouldn’t we honor the history of the building and reconfigure offices if that is necessary before we abandon the whole building?
Please attend the public hearing at the Tusten Town Hall about this issue on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the very space they are considering eliminating. Or you can attend on Zoom (ID 890 1678 4280).
Brandi Merolla is a former town councilwoman.
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