According to town manager Scott Murphy, the construction of a 12-foot-high deck on the back of the historic building, which will house the building’s new heating, ventilation, and air unit, will begin within a month’s time. The deck will use all 10 feet of the building’s rear setback, and will extend 30 feet along the back of the building.
All construction on the project will be performed via the east side of the building, according to Murphy, using Crafts Inn’s land as well. While original plans had called for the erection of a steel deck, the town has since changed the material to wood. “We decided wood was better,” said Murphy. “(We felt it) would blend in better with the historic look of the building, and would probably be less expensive than steel.”
The wooden look, along with efforts to constrict the unit’s noise, have helped the town come to an agreement with Crafts Inn manager Alice Richter over concerns about the aesthetics of the project. Richter originally opposed the project, and filed a lawsuit in September 2013 in Environmental Court along with fellow Memorial Hall abutter Cindy Beaudette, owner of neighboring The Incurable Romantic, to try to stop the project. Beaudette is concerned about liability issues, due to the proximity of her land to the area in which construction will take place.
Murphy said that, on the advice of town attorney Bob Fisher, the town would be putting construction tape around the perimeter of the project to prevent traversing onto Beaudette’s property to the rear and west of Memorial Hall.
“We’ve been talking to them (the Beaudettes) through various sources to reach some kind of agreement,” said Murphy. “It doesn’t look like that is going to happen, and construction season is so limited in Vermont, so we’re going to try to move ahead now.”
Murphy also said that as usage of Memorial Hall starts to increase, so does the need for an air system within the building.
While Murphy could not provide a start date for the project, he said he expected it to be completed within six weeks. Murphy also said that all interior work on the project had been completed, and could be attached fairly quickly once the deck unit is completed.