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    Brian Keaney

    Interesting Town Meeting

    by: Danoneil13

    Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 00:05:14 AM EST

    (Very interesting indeed. - promoted by Brian)

    I have to admit this town surprised me tonight. I thought Rustcraft was a shoe in to be voted in and I figured the town would follow suit with the all of the charter commission recommendations.

    To start in my opinion the Board of Selectman oversold the proposal and kept highlighting the additional space for development down the road. This was just and easy target for detractors and it killed the project by the time the vote came. I'm sad the proposal didn't pass. Carmen worked very hard on this and I believed in the proposal. I recommended to the board a civic center for that space or to use the Senior Center space if the seniors didn't want it. That revenue stream would have been a no brainer and at least would have given citizens an additional valid reason to support the proposal. All I can do is throw ideas out there. If people don't want to use them then oh well.

    The Library Trustees and Park and Recreations made compelling and valid arguments as to why their director should still report to the board and both entities will continue to do so.

    It's good to see that democracy is still here and some of our elected officials will still carry weight in the departments they oversee. For the most part a good night for Dedham.

    Danoneil13 :: Interesting Town Meeting
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    It's because the senior center was included (0.00 / 0)
    The more years I live here, the more I realize that no one ever votes in favor of a Dedham Senior Center.

    seniors win again (0.00 / 0)
    plums, not even seniors support a senior center. was a bit hard to hear on the TV last night but I thought the COA was particularly eloquent last night communicating their position on the rustcraft.

    [ Parent ]
    Seniors commenting on seniors (0.00 / 0)
    Sitting behind me at Town Meeting were two senior citizens.  After the Rustcraft vote, they mentioned how many senior citizens were leaving the hall, with the implication being that now that they've voted down Rustcraft they could go home. - a community since 1636 and online since 2007!

    [ Parent ]
    Selectpeople and Charter Committee Should be Commended (0.00 / 0)
    Although like the majority of Town Meeting, I voted "No" quite a bit. But I want to say thank you to the 8 months of hard work that the Selectpeople did. I think they had the Town's best interest at heart.  The only thing I was concerned with Rustcraft was that it was being pulled out of the Square but I was open to voting "Yes" until many of the eloquent comments by my fellow Meeting members (especially the former Meeting member who had real estate experience) swayed me.  Too much too fast. One thing I have learned is that this town is very small-c conservative.  And that's ok. Our AAA bond rating speaks to how well we work. Maybe in the future, the Selectpeople can have rolling Mini-Town Meetings and more regular mailings or emails to Meeting members to update them on these big projects so that no one feels like this was a "used car salesmen" situation.

    The only thing I came to the meeting to vote "No" on was term limits. So I am glad that we got to put a face to some of the changes that on paper the Charter Committee recommended seemed very reasonable.  And they still do. Maybe a more nuanced change could bring them back.

    But overall, I think the Charter Committee did a great job as well.  Some of the comments got a little too personal towards the end and I hope no one felt disrespected or that their hard work was not appreciated.  

    So a big Thank You to everyone who worked so hard.  And sorry...  

    huh... (0.00 / 0)
    what in the heck is a selectperson?  assuming that's the singular of selectpeople...

    [ Parent ]
    Yes (0.00 / 0)
    Just trying to be inclusive and gender-neutral since we do have a woman on the Board.  I'm too lazy to look up proper usage in a style guide, so there you go...

    I didn't write "selectperson" though.  If I was referring to an individual, I would have used Selectman or Selectwoman as the case warranted. But that's just me.

    [ Parent ]
    No so fast on the Ames Schoolhouse (0.00 / 0)
    After Shaw McDermott spoke and presented a rather rosy scenario in which it seemed like the Ames Schoolhouse was a viable option for a joint town hall and senior center, the person sitting next to me asked if that changed my mind at all.  I responded by saying that it was a very attractive idea, but we already had a bird in the hand at Rustcraft.

    I still like the idea, and especially if it means we can put a new police station where the Town Hall stands now, but it seems like that is really a case of two in the bush.  The owner of the Ames Schoolhouse sent the following note to his tenants.

    Last week I was approached by a Dedham resident regarding the Town of Dedham's plans to relocate their Police Station, Town Hall and Council on Aging.  I was asked if I would consider selling the building to the Town for this purpose.  I responded that I really had no interest in selling the building at present, but if I ever did sell the building I would consider selling to the Town.  I suggested that I would be willing to lease space to the Town for its various uses.

    This resident went before the Town meeting and expressed my thoughts.

    I have not met with any Town officials nor discussed the Ames building with any Town officials.  I have no plans to sell the building.

    Your lease is in full force and effect and will be honored under its existing terms.

    Please call me if you have any questions. - a community since 1636 and online since 2007!

    To be fair (0.00 / 0)
    that does generally line up with what Mr. McDermott said.  That the owner would not sell until all current leases expire. So at present, at the moment, etc he does not plan to sell. Doesn't mean he will not talk to the town and sell within a few years after honoring all current leases.

    [ Parent ]
    two comments (0.00 / 0)
    in re: "put a new police station where the Town Hall stands" --if we did that , that'd significantly limit the  redevelopment of the Keystone lot . . . the ULI report was pretty clear in stating that the the Keystone lot is . . .  well . . . the keystone to increasing economic vitality in Dedham Center . . . one big appeal of Rustcraft to me was that it opened up Dedham Center to much more private development

    2 - in re: Ames Schoolhouse . . . it remains quite unclear whether there is sufficient Town interest in pursuing the Ames Schoolhouse . . . and whether the owner may in a few years really want to sell that property . . . in the meantime I hope that TM's action didn't permanently sink Rustcraft . . . the Big Question that Rustcraft raised is whether it's better to generally stay the course in Dedham Center (shift the location of the police station, shift the location of Town Hall in a way that reduces the number of private businesses, and limit use of the Keystone Lot to fairly small scale redevelopment) or to spur significant new growth in Dedham Center at the Keystone Lot . . .  

    [ Parent ]
    It's amazing how much more popular the Rustcraft idea is now (0.00 / 0)
    that so many townspeople expressed surprise at how Town Meeting went.

    Not one Town Meeting member spoke up in favor of the idea, which probably sunk it as much as the Ames pipe dream.  

    [ Parent ]
    What more could be said? (0.00 / 0)
    The Selectmen spoke for an hour on the topic, giving every conceivable reason to vote in favor of it.  What more could another person have added? - a community since 1636 and online since 2007!

    [ Parent ]
    Rustcraft Rejection Questions? (0.00 / 0)
    Now that the Rustcraft proposal got rejected, what happens now?

    I think several things might or should occur.

    The BOS could renegotiate with the Davis Group for a smaller portion of the bld, maybe 70-100k sq/ft of space instead of the 244K. The price would be better in the $5-8 million range. As mentioned at TM there was a comparable property with less space that sold for $8 million from what I remember.

    The BOS could bring back the Rustcraft warrant article at the spring TM.

    I would hope that the BOS would seriously look into the Ames School House as a possible site as well, if it is available and found to be a viable site for the Town Hall and possibly a Senior Center, this could also be put on the warrant in spring.

    My biggest question or concern is about the Senior Center Site Committee. They have been in force for one full year now without being able to do a feasibility study due to the Rustcraft project. I would like to see the following happen before the spring Town Meeting.

    1) The Rustcraft project at some new lower price put on the warrant, if feasible.

    2) The Ames School project put on the warrant, if feasible.

    3) Finally let the SCSC do a feasibility study with all of the possible sites on their list, and include Rustcraft, Ames School, St. Mary's parking lot, etc, so when the study is done it will cover all sites in Town, whether as a single bldg Senior Center or part of a campus style bldg.

    Hopefully, when this is done the SCSC could give their recommendation for a site and should cover all site possibilities. If they recommend a site other than Rustcraft or the Ames School then a third warrant article could be offered at TM.

    Then, it's up to Town Meeting to decide which of the three possibilities would be best for the entire Town. I think this would be the most fair to all parties involved.

    [ Parent ]
    Wishful? (0.00 / 0)
    1- As noted at Town Meeting and presentations beforehand the price to the Town for the 114k space in Rustcraft was ~ $17m.
    2- Who knows if the Davis Cos. now want to negotiate with the Town at all.
    3- Who knows if the Selectmen have the inclination to follow  8 months of hard work with - now that TM said no - another 6-8 months of multi-property negotiations to present to a TM that turned down 2 proposals for relocating Town offices that were months in development.
    4- If I were the owner of another larger building like the Ames School I'd be looking for the Town to do an open process: put out an RFR/RFP for relocation of Town offices to a Town campus, if that's how the Town wants to go. Moving one by one through favored property owners seems like an awkward to conduct the Town's business.
    5- Putting the Police Station on the existing Town Hall property will hamper future development of the Keystone Lot. Moving Town offices around the Square does not provide a significant net increase in ADDITIONAL economic activity in Dedham Center.
    6- Moving Town offices out of Dedham Center brings with it the opportunity to have significantly more private business activity in the Square. That certainly incldues risks, but it's shortsighted to just say not to that opportunity.

    I hope that "what happens now" includes more thought about the future of Dedham Square, not just where Towns offices go, which includes how to attract more private business activity to Dedham Center.


    [ Parent ]
    Dead as a doornail (0.00 / 0)
    No way will Rustcraft be on the table anymore.  Needed 2/3 to pass, got nowhere near 1/2.  It's over folks.  

    [ Parent ]


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