By Adam Swift
A recently completed site plan of the former middle school on Pauline Street contained few surprises, but could help pave the way for the long-awaited development of the unused property.
â€œWe have had a site plan done by Grady Consulting,â€ said Town Council President James Letterie at last weekâ€™s council meeting. â€œIt is the beginning, it is moving forward to some type of action and eventual closure on that middle school site that has been there an inordinate amount of time. The plan doesnâ€™t really tell us anything we didnâ€™t already know, but I guess it confirms what we thought we knew.â€
The Winthrop Middle School was built on the site of the 1908 high school and closed in 2016.
â€œWhat I am asking the Town Manager to do is to look into the possibility of getting stringent pricing on the demolition of the middle school and the auditorium,â€ said Letterie.
Letterie said there is also the possibility that the council might have to take some action in the future regarding the adjustment of the middle school plot lines, depending on how the town chooses to move forward with the development of the property.
â€œThis gives us a starting point, and I hope it takes us less than eight years to get to the next point,â€ said Letterie. â€œWe do have a couple of thoughts in mind that we hope to get to the council in the near future to have it vetted out.â€
Town Manager Tony Marino is also looking for some grant opportunities to help clean up the property, Letterie said.
In other business, Letterie brought up the issue of the townâ€™s public ways. He said heâ€™s asked Marino to come up with a list of all the public ways in town.
â€œThen I would like us to look at the cost to maintain them properly and to keep them secure,â€ said Letterie.
He noted that the town is still a ways away from coming up with any kind of policy on the public ways, and that it requires further discussion.
Several other councilors noted that there is no move in the immediate future for the privatization of any public ways, and if that did happen at some point, there would be a public hearing process.
â€œThe town has to, I believe, maintain them properly and limit any liability we might have at some point,â€ said Letterie.
He added that a lot of people have made valid points that the public ways provide character and offer a lot to the town. However, he said there have also been valid points made on the other side that the public ways are not being maintained and that they encroach on the privacy of some residents.
Marino said he recently inspected the public way on Summit Avenue with the police and public works chiefs, where there was an issue with the staircase.
Marino said he has talked to state Representative Jeff Turco about the possibility of obtaining state funding to help repair the staircase.