M/cloudy
76°
M/cloudy
Hi 84° | Lo 62°

BENNINGTON

VFW renovation plan in the works

Train depot slated to for voting, meetings

  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Bids submitted for the 18-mile stretch of train tracks that runs through Bennington will be reviewed Thursday, May 15, by the Department of Transportation. Pan Am Railways, of Massachusetts, and Peter Leishman, a N.H. State Rep. from Peterborough, submitted bids to lease the tracks.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Town officials in Bennington are discussing possible timelines to renovate the VFW/depot, which will be used as a polling place when completed.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

BENNINGTON — Town officials are working to develop design plans to renovate the VFW on Pierce Hill Road , which was once a train depot, into a meeting place and community center, and hope to have set plans for construction by the end of August.

At a Select Board meeting earlier this month, several members of the town’s Building Advisory Committee presented a timeline to the board with suggested checkpoint dates for the renovation, which was voted down by the Select Board in order to give the committee more time to come up with concrete design plans.

Town Administrator Dee French said in a phone interview Monday that the goal is to have the VFW used as a community space, since the town doesn’t have another building designated for events such as Cub Scout meetings. It will also be used as a polling place for elections, something town officials agree would benefit the town greatly.

At Bennington’s SB2 first deliberative session in March, the Select Board said Pierce School is not a proper place for polling for a variety of reasons. School is in session when elections are taking place, and opening up the gym to the public for elections, while students are in the building, is a security concern, according to town officials.

Select Board Chair Steven Osienski said before Wednesday night’s Select Board meeting that right now the town has to plan a year and a half in advance for elections in order to let officials at the Pierce School know the gymnasium will be needed for election space.

“This could be a jumping off point so we can be self-sufficient,” French said, referring to the town’s need for a community space.

Both French and Building Advisory Committee member Bruce Nixon said that one of the main concerns for the current VFW building is its lack of space, which is largely due to a kitchen that was constructed right in the middle of the interior. But Nixon said in a phone interview Monday that the most pressing issue he and the rest of the committee looked at was plumbing.

The VFW’s bathrooms are not handicap-accessible, and only one entrance has a ramp into the building. The plumbing and utilities would have to be rearranged in order to accommodate any new bathrooms and water outlets.

French said that the town isn’t sure yet how much renovations to the building will cost, since plans are still in the preliminary stages. But the town has $32,926 in the Building Improvements Capital Reserve Fund. She added that $15,000 was appropriated this past March. But that fund is for all town buildings, and isn’t specific to just the VFW.

She and Nixon are hoping members of the community will step forward to help complete the renovations when the time comes. The town will be seeking more funding, too.

“We’re looking to get some grants that will help us put money into the project,” Nixon said in a phone interview Monday. “We hope to go over any preliminary designs and get grants that may be available, which is our first move.”

There is no set deadline for completion of the VFW renovations . Nixon said the project will probably be worked on in phases, and could take a few years to finish.

But before the VFW’s uses can be designated, Nixon said there needs to a design plan. “We’re really just hoping to take advantage of this old historic building,” Nixon said. “We’re trying to make it look more like one of those older train stations that is usable.”

He said that there are aspects of the building now that the committee would like to incorporate into the new design, such as the old ticket window and the old water fountain inside.

Once the design plans are completed and submitted to the Select Board in August, the town will get to work on renovations. “We’re excited,” Nixon said. “It’s a great building and a great town. We’re looking forward to getting to work on it.”

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.