Letter: Vote no on Hahnewald barn

The 1908 Hahnewald Barn has no historical rating. Little if any philanthropic funds have been raised to save the barn over the last five years. It is taxpayers who will fund this three-phase barn project estimated to cost close to $7 million or more.

Phase one costing $1.6 million gets the taxpayer what?

A barn with nothing, not even bathrooms. A barn that the public cannot enter. The opportunity to spend another $6 million or much more because it will take extreme remodeling to make this narrow 30-foot wide old barn that is not watertight somewhat useable. You can’t even use it for 12 covered parking places that you could not easily back out from.

Moving the barn will prevent a better alternative use for the very valuable site currently occupied by the old Avon Town Hall. It will insure that Avon will have to continue with the over-the-top 2 percent Real Estate Property Transfer Tax (RETT). Towns on either side of Avon have no RETT.

I estimate at $400 per square foot, Avon could build a new building that is over six times the size for less money than the extreme remodel will actually cost.

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Could Avon request proposals from developers for repurposing ideas for the old town hall if the town gave them the building rent free for say 10 to 20 years? Could developers remodel it and provide public bathroom stalls for the park/bike trail, provide some low-rent workforce housing and some commercial rental space? With this concept it will cost Avon nothing to repurpose the old town hall, while meeting the town’s needs (not wants) and also saving several million dollars.

Even after the mayor said the taxpayers would not vote to move the barn, four council members voted to continue the spending spree. Should these council members be recalled?

Tom Ruemmler


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