Public’s opinion sought on uses for old Town Hall

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer

Bridgton residents are being invited to give their opinion about the future of the Old Town Hall on North High Street.

Eric Dube of Casco Bay Engineering will be on hand at the Bridgton Municipal Complex next Tuesday, July 23, at 4 p.m. with the sole purpose of hearing what activities residents think should — or should not — take place inside the historic building in future years.

Dube’s firm was hired by the town to analyze the structural integrity of the old building as a first step in making needed repairs. But in order to complete that analysis, Dube needs to understand what the public wants to see go on inside the building.

Currently the Old Town Hall is used by Bridgton Recreation for pre-softball training, basketball and other high-impact sports. The building is also used for more sedate activities, including voting, town meetings, and organizational meetings.

Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said Dube’s report will ideally include both recommendations for bringing the building up to code and for a more ambitious historic restoration. But the latter project, because of its greater costs, will likely come with a recommendation to discontinue using the building for high-impact sports that are more likely to cause damage to the structure.

Some of the high-impact sports, particularly basketball, have been going on in the building for many generations, and some in town are reluctant to give up that traditional use.

Prior to meeting with the public, Dube will spend the afternoon examining the building, from foundation to roof, Berkowitz said. Casco Bay Engineering won the contract for the work with a low bid of $11,872.

Dube’s report may also figure in any future plans to build an entirely new facility for town recreational activities.

After meeting with the public, Dube will report to the Board of Selectmen that evening, during the public hearing portion of the meeting that begins at 6 p.m. The public is also invited to attend the hearing, and make their comments known at that time.

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