December 12, 2019

Deep River Close to Obtaining Funds of Former Town Hall Restoration Association

DEEP RIVER– The town is close to obtaining control of about $261,000 that was held by the now disbanded Deep River Town Hall Restoration Association Inc.

That was the message last week from former Selectman Arthur Thompson as he briefed the board of selectmen on the activities of the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium Restoration Committee. Thompson is on the 11-member volunteer committee that was established in December to replace the restoration association, and complete long-planned improvements to the second-floor auditorium at town hall.

The former restoration association held the $261,000 that was donated over several years by residents to support the renovation of the town hall auditorium. The town meeting resolution that established the new committee included a provision specifying that funds held by the former association would be placed in a separate town fund dedicated to completing work on the town hall auditorium.

Thompson said the funds have been taken out of stock market investment accounts, and placed in a single account at Essex Savings Bank. Thompson also reported the town would not need a probate court ruling to secure control of the funds because the 1979 incorporation documents for the town hall restoration association had specified that any funds held by the association would revert to the town if the association was disbanded.

But the final transfer of the funds to the town requires a review by the state Attorney General’s office, which reviews final disbursements of charitable funds. Thompson said the committee expects a report from the attorney general soon.

Thompson said the funds would then be used to pay for improvements to the town hall auditorium, including work needed to allow full use of the balcony, and create a suitable entrance to the auditorium from a side door to the 1892 town hall building. He said the committee is working to prepare a specific improvement plan for the auditorium, along with cost estimates, to be presented to the selectmen.

Thompson also announced the committee would handle any bookings for use of the town hall auditorium, ending the services of Linalynn Schmelzer, a local resident who was hired last year by the association to coordinate bookings of the auditorium. “There are not a lot of bookings right now and we believe committee members can handle it,” he said.