New Ipswich Old Town Hall still in need of repairs

  • The Old Town Hall on New Ipwich’s Main Street remains in need of repairs after being barred from use in 2015. Monadnock Ledger-Transcript File Photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, April 12, 2018 7:53AM

The New Ipswich Heritage Commission will be taking a second crack at attempting to repair the Old Town Hall, which has been barred from use for several years now.

The Old Town Hall, located on Main Street across from the Congregational Church, has a noticeable tilt that is causing it to be structurally unsafe, caused by a crumbling sill in the foundation. Traditionally, the building was only used once a year, to host the White Elephant sale at the Children’s Fair, but the last few years, it hasn’t even been used for that, as it was deemed a safety hazard until the sill was fixed.

Last year, the Heritage Commission put out a request for bids to fix the sill, but only received one bid, which came in after the bid deadline had expired. The Commission attended the Select Board meeting on Tuesday, to request a re-start to the bidding process. 

“This has gone nowhere, and I’d like to see it go somewhere,” said Heritage Commission member Fran Atchison.

The Select Board agreed with that spirit, and agreed that it was worthwhile to try a second round of the bidding process.

“The building still has such opportunity for great use,” said Selectman John Veeser. 

“I’d love to see it come back to life,” agreed Selectman Jay Hopkins.

The two boards discussed potential reasons why the first request had not generated more interest, and how to ensure a second round created a wider bidding pool. 

Veeser suggested that the potential ramifications of work done on the foundation leading to other needed repairs might have been an issue for some contractors.

“Repairing the sill is only the start to a huge domino effect going forward,” he said.

Select Board Chair David Lage suggested that during this bid process, the Heritage Commission reach out directly, by phone, to companies that specialized in historic registration to gauge their interest and encourage them to send in bids. If companies indicated that they wouldn’t be able to accommodate the project this summer, he further suggested the Commission ask about their availability in the fall season.

“We’ve waited this long,” said Lage.