June 2, 2020

Deep River Town Meeting to Establish Replacement for Disbanded Town Hall Restoration Association

DEEP RIVER— Voters will be asked at a town meeting Tuesday to approve a resolution establishing a replacement for the now disbanded Deep River Town Hall Restoration Association Inc. The meeting, which also includes confirmation of appointments to the planning and zoning commission and zoning board of appeals, convenes at 7 p.m. in town hall.

The resolutions related to the ongoing town hall restoration project include rescinding a February 1981 town meeting resolution granting sole authority for the town hall restoration efforts to the Deep River Town Hall Restoration Association Inc., and adopting a new resolution establishing an 11-member Deep River Town Hall Auditorium Restoration Committee to “oversee and complete restoration of the Deep River Town Hall auditorium to the extent that funds are available.” A third resolution would create a special town fund called the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium Restoration Fund.

The review of authority granted to the Deep River Town Hall Restoration Association began earlier this fall, when the board of selectmen met with members of the association to obtain an update on the ongoing restoration plans for the second floor auditorium at the historic 1892 town hall. Improvements to the town hall began in the late 1970s, but in recent years have focused on upgrading the auditorium to meet all current fire safety and building codes.

The selectmen in October formally objected to any move by the non-profit association to create a permanent endowment fund from the private donations provided for the auditorium restoration work. The funds, believed to total about $240,000, had largely been invested in the stock market.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the board of selectmen met with members of the association board on Nov. 8, a session where the association members offered to disband the group and transfer authority to a newly created town committee. “It was their idea,” Smith said, adding that he expects many of the association members to be appointed to spots on the new committee. The board of selectmen will appoint members of the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium Restoration Committee.

“It will just be a better structure,” Smith said, adding that the goal is to use available funding to complete as many of the auditorium code upgrades as possible.

“People want to see it finished,” Smith said, adding that many of the donors want to have the improvements completed as soon as possible. Smith said expenditures from the new special fund would be approved by the board of selectmen based on recommendations from the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium Restoration Committee.

Voters at the town meeting will be asked to confirm appointments to the planning and zoning commission and zoning board of appeals for three-year terms ending in December 2014. The reappointments to the planning and zoning commission, all incumbents, are Janet Edgarton, Nancy Fischbach, and Thomas Walsh. The appointments to the zoning board of appeals are Jerome Ackerman, Margot Gamerdinger, and William Harris.

 

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