If you signed up to receive alerts from the Town website, you may have received a confusing notice yesterday from “The Town of Southborough”:
Our department will be moving to 21 Highland Street, Southborough, 01772.
Don’t worry, they aren’t closing the Town House. As clarified in a later message, the announcement was sent from the department, Southborough Youth and Family Services.
As the message went on to explain, the move will be gradual:
We expect that the move will commence the end of January and be complete sometime in February. During the move, you may find us at either location and can continue to reach us at the same phone lines. Since we may be moving piecemeal, there maybe some interruption to our services and our communications with you. We thank you, in advance, for your patience and understanding. Please contact us if you have any questions!
Relocating the department is one of the steps the Town is taking as it prepares to sell Fayville Hall
SYFS had been the sole department still located at the historic building on Central Street. Now, it’s relocating to South Union Building/Arts Center on Highland Street. (You may also know it as the location for the Southborough Recreation Department.)
The Town formed a committee to work on the disposition of Fayville Hall. It is in the process of putting out an RFP out so they can begin marketing the property to potential buyers. Last week, members presented their final report to selectmen.
Last Thursday, the Fayville Hall Disposition Committee told selectmen that the RFP will advise that proposals will be weighed based on five equal factors. Before comparing financial bids, they will look at: Historic preservation, Parking accommodation, Affordable Housing, Septic, and Permitting.
Historic: The committee is encouraging preservation or restoration of the “architecturally and historically significant” building. This follows through on a promise to Town Meeting voters.*
Parking: The building and it’s parking lot are across from Harold E Memorial Park. The recreation space includes Fayville Playground and a T-ball field. The committee is hoping applicants will in accommodate public parking in the building’s lot.
Affordable Housing: Applicants will be encouraged to to review grant funds that might be available for that through the Community Preservation Committee.
Septic and Permitting: The RFP will warn potential buyers of the need for a new septic system to be installed. And buyers will be responsible for obtaining necessary permits. The applicant’s should demonstrate willingness/ability to tackle those tasks.
At Thursday’s meeting, selectmen approved FHDC’s plan. They authorized the committee to work with Town officials on finalizing and releasing the RFP.
*Selectmen originally sought to move on selling the property in Spring 2016. Authorization from Town Meeting voters failed to get support. Preservationists asked voters for time to look at options for selling to someone who would preserve the facade.
The following Annual Town Meeting, the Article came back to voters with no apparent progress on finding a buyer. But the Historical Commission convinced voters to pass a new bylaw at the meeting they hoped would aid in preservation of this and other properties. The Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings bylaw allows buyers additional uses by-right for properties if they preserve the facade.
Following that vote, Preservationists pressured selectmen to make protection of the historic building a criteria for sale. Board members promised voters that preservation would be taken into consideration as part of the RFP process. With that qualified assurance in place, voters gave selectmen authority to “dispose” of the property.