Cohasset Selectmen Vote 5-0 to Purchase Senior Center Facility

91 Soheir StreetSaturday’s, May 2 Cohasset Town Meeting will be asked to allow the Town Manager, with approval by the Board of Selectmen, to purchase the 10,000 sq. ft. building located at 91 Sohier Street for a Senior Center and other municipal uses at the price of $1,030,000 (includes $30,000 for furnishings).

It is expected that the Town Manager’s final motion to Town Meeting will include permission to bond some or all of the expense for purchase. Also, existing easements and the proposed use and occupancy limitations will be addressed as will operational and maintenance costs, which are thought to be in the vicinity of $50,000 a year.

Peter Pescatore, Chair of the Advisory committee, will address the proposed motion with his committee at 6:30 pm tonight (Wednesday, May 29). Capital Budget will discuss the same at 7pm Thursday, May 30). Selectmen, Advisory and Capital Budget will vote on the final motion at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, a half hour before the Annual Town Meeting. The acquisition is Article 16 on the warrant.

If Town Meeting approves the purchase, Selectmen and their Town Manager Chris Senior and Town Counsel will then work on conditions of the $1,030,000.00 sale.

Selectman Quigley said it was important for the public to understand that the building is no longer a gift and that serious issues needed to be discussed before the Selectmen could get involved.

Selectman Steve Gaumer said the Town would have no difficulty utilizing the space. “A $4M building for $1M is not dumb idea –Unless you don’t have full use of the building.”

Selectmen discussed the following conditions of the sale to be negotiated:

  1. The property must be delivered to the Town with no encumbrances.
  2. The Town must own the completed building, not a building with work to be done.
  3. The proposed use restriction needs to be specific; the secondary use of the building must be known, i.e. can the building be used for shelter space (storm related)?
  4. Parking and drainage easement questions, i.e. the parking lot cannot be used for two months during the summer during swim meets, the parking lot is utilized for over-flow parking by the South Shore Music Circus.
  5. A “reverter” clause in the proposal needs to be examined; i.e., if there comes a time the Town no longer uses 91 Sohier Street for Elders, the ownership would revert to Marita Carpenter.
  6. The Social Service League proposes permanent, rent-free occupancy of a second floor office and a second floor conference room.
  7. 91 Sohier Street resides in the new Flood Plain, what are costs, etc.
  8. The Attorney General will have to sign off on the purchase.

The Social Service League of Cohasset (SSL) was the only bidder answering the Towns RFPs to lease or purchase property for a senior center. The SSL proposed that the Town lease the property for $10,000 (including utilities) a year for three years ($360,000 total). After a vigorous discussion, Selectmen decided leasing the property would not be advantageous to the Town. Jack Keniley, Cap Budget chair, said at that price it would be almost the same as bonding out the building. Selectman Karen Quigley pointed out that the Lease would not reduce the sale price.

-Tanna Kasperowicz

© Copyright 2015 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed