$1.2M price tag on former town hall, fire station demolitions in Avon
AVON — Looking at line items of $600,000 apiece to demolish the former Town Hall and fire station buildings, the Town Council said it’s a decision best left for another time.
The costs had been suggested as part of the town’s 2019 budget, which the council examined at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
In addition to stalling on the demolition projects, members of the council suggested the addition of more parking on Benchmark Road become a priority. Extending Main Street Mall to make the connection clearer to the lake was also discussed, with council member Megan Burch saying it should be a priority.
However, “If we’re planning what to do with the fire station site, combined with the mall street extension, it does make sense to have some of that planning happening at the same time,” Burch added.
Mayor Jennie Fancher said she was shocked by the cost of the demolitions.
Town Engineer Justin Hildreth said the quote Avon received on the Town Hall demolition assumed $100,000 in extra costs due to the fact that there’s asbestos in the building. The cost also included restoring the site to grass.
Hildreth said while staff’s recommendation was to demolish Town Hall in 2019, the building could sit for longer, but there’s costs that come with that, as well.
“We could lower the temperature to 50, not cool it in the summer, and just let it sit there and essentially drain the pipes,” Hildreth said.
Council member Matt Gennett said before a demolition occurs, a plan for whatever new development is happening on the site should be through approvals.
“I don’t see any urgency to tear it down,” Gennett said. “It’d be nice to study the adaptive reuse of that building.”
Gennett said a landscape plan should be approved for 3-5 years first if the site were to be restored to a grass lawn.
“If it’s just an extension of green space, so be it,” said Fancher, echoing Gennett’s comments. “Having it sit there will really push us to figure it out and make it a priority with the new council.”
FIRE STATION NOT UP TO FIRE CODE
On the fire station site, council member Jake Wolf asked if the housing opportunities the building provides makes it worth saving.
The site has been used by local businesses since being vacated by the fire district in 2017.
Town staff acknowledged that there are currently businesses with proposals to use the building, but acting Town Manager Scott Wright said it has been a challenge finding a group that town feels is safe in that facility.
“It doesn’t have fire suppression, it’s cost prohibitive for the town to bring it up to code,” Wright said.
Hildreth recommended $50,000 be added to the budget to study the fire station site alongside the extension of Main Street Mall.
“It would make sense to do it all at once, probably more cost effective,” Hildreth said.
Gennett said the fire station demolition seems more imminent than the former Town Hall building.
“It has no fire suppression, ironically enough,” Gennett said. “To bring that building up to code would be a tremendous fee.”
But either way, he added, it will be “for a future council to consider.”