Jul 30, 2014
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Old Town House Renovations Approved

A project aimed at making the Old Town House universally accessible was approved at Town Meeting.

Old Town House Renovations Approved Old Town House Renovations Approved Old Town House Renovations Approved Old Town House Renovations Approved Old Town House Renovations Approved

A project aimed at making Marblehead's universally accessible, in last year's , was overwhelmingly supported by local residents at Town Meeting Tuesday night.

The $675,000 project, which calls for the installation of a three-story elevator and two handicapped bathrooms, was unanimously endorsed by the town's Board of Selectmen and passed by a margin of 456 to 30.

Among those endorsing the project Tuesday night was selectman Judie Jacobi, who said it was a shame that the Old Town House couldn't be used for local meetings, debates and gatherings.

"We could hold political debates in the same room where Elbridge Gerry and Gen. John Glover debated independence and where events were held until the 1990's," Jacobi said.

"What pride we could take in not only owning such an historic building but knowing that it was being used," Jacobi said. "How exciting it would be not only to attend an event there but to walk by and see it alive with activity." 

Before closing, Jacobi said she was "thrilled" to announce that the town's Historical Commission had agreed to donate $65,000 toward the project.

"As a result of their donation the current cost of the project has been reduced to an estimated $610,168," Jacobi said. The cost to a median Marblehead homeowner would be about $12.90 a year for the next five years.

Among those speaking out against the proposed renovation project was Barbara Anderson who said she considered it an "over and over and override."

"Every couple of years they try this again, every time the voters say no, every time we ask them what part of no don't you understand and they keep coming back and coming back," Anderson said, adding, "It's not the $12.50, it's the principle."

The Old Town House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and dates back to before the American Revolution. Tuesday's approval means the renovation project will be put to a vote in a Special Town Election next month.

Here's a closer look at last year's results:

PrecinctP1P2P3P4P5P6P7TOTALYes 476 269 255 365 413 439 313 2,530 No 426 449 399 551 525 576 6413,567

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