TOWNSEND -- Selectmen Tuesday debated the fate of the building that formerly housed the Townsend Public Library.
Alice Struthers, a representative of the Town Properties Committee, asked selectmen to make a decision to either invest the money to renovate the old Hart Free Library building at 276 Main St., which is falling into disrepair, or put it up for sale.
The property has been sitting vacant since the library moved to its new location at 12 Dudley Road four years ago, Struthers said.
A notice that the town put out seeking agencies that would be interested in renovating and leasing the building went unanswered.
Board members voiced differing opinions on whether to try to continue trying to lease the property or to sell it.
Selectman Sue Lisio said the town does not have the money to restore the property, and should sell it.
"I love that old building, and I wish that someone would come in and say, 'I love this old building, too,' that has a lot of money," Lisio said.
"We've got so many other things right now, that I can't see us spending any money on renovating anything, fixing anything and cleaning anything," she said.
When Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said that he would publish the notice seeking tenants again, Lisio said the town should be trying to sell the property rather than leasing it.
"I'm not interested in leasing it anymore. As far as I'm concerned, we need to say good-bye," Lisio said. "I think that's just postponing the inevitable.
Selectman Colin McNabb said he was hesitant to sell the building because of its historic importance to the town.
"I care a lot about history and the history of this town, and the library is part of the history of this town," McNabb said.
He suggested getting an estimate for the renovation before deciding whether to sell the property.
Lisio said that paying for an estimate without the intention of renovating the property would be a waste of money.
Selectman Robert Plamondon suggested putting the property up for sale with stipulations that the buyer would have to preserve the historical and architectural integrity of the building.
"I think the townspeople would support selling it rather than seeing it deteriorate," Plamondon said.
"We should try to find someone with the financial and technical resources to do the right thing," he said.
Board members voted unanimously to table the issue until their next meeting on Oct. 8.
Until that time, Sheehan said he would confirm that the town has been authorized to sell the property at Town Meeting. If not, he said he would put the authorization on the warrant for the next town meeting.
Selectmen also decided that any remaining items inside the building be inventoried and put up for sale.
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