North Yarmouth to hold forums on Wescustogo Hall project

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The town has planned two public forums to bring residents up to speed ahead of a June referendum on the reconstruction of Wescustogo Hall and renovation of North Yarmouth Memorial School.

The meetings will be held Thursday, Feb. 15, and Thursday, March 15 – both at the 120 Memorial Highway former school at 7 p.m. – and conducted by the Wescustogo Building and Design Committee.

Fire destroyed the former Grange on Route 115 in 2013. Parking limitations at that site, which neighbors the Village Green, largely led the town to explore an alternate location for the building.

The former NYMS property on Route 9, which School Administrative District 51 closed and transferred to the town in 2014, was supported by the Select Board in January as the location of a new Wescustogo.

Barrett Made, a Portland-based design and build firm, is working with the town to design a community center composed of a partly demolished – and renovated – NYMS, and a new Wescustogo connected through a lobby.

The forums are meant “to let people know the progression of the project, because the project should move fairly quickly now,” Town Manager Rosemary Roy said in an interview Jan. 25.

The design of the proposed new Wescustogo will be available at the meetings, and cost-estimates should be ready by the second forum, Roy said, noting that “by the end we need to be getting the language ready for the (June) ballot.”

On the topic of design, discussions have been underway about some sort of imagery adorning the middle of the side of the new Wescustogo that would face Memorial Highway, also known as Route 9, Roy explained.

With the potential end of a four-year process in sight, the Select Board on Jan. 16 unanimously approved a design-to-build contract with Barrett Made for $75,000, funds for which come out of the town’s insurance fund for the former Wescustogo.

“They will take the project now from beginning to end,” Roy said. “They will complete all of the (requests for proposals) for people who will do the construction.”

The forums will also serve as a kickoff for the Wescustogo committee’s fundraising efforts toward the project. For those who missed the original 1949 release of the “Wescustogo Grange No. 27 Cook Book,” or would like a brand new copy, the text has been reprinted as part of that fundraiser. It is available at Town Hall for $20.

“Different things like that will be announced at the forums, and hopefully engage the public,” Roy said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

This visual shows the latest design of a new Wescustogo Hall in North Yarmouth, as seen from Route 9.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.