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Within the past month the Waitsfield Town Office Task Force (TOTF) has begun to look more seriously at an excellent adaptive reuse solution for our new town offices and meeting space. The building is what is known as the Third Methodist Church and is more commonly known as the home of Luminosity and two residences and, until recently, the Quilt Shop.
The building is for sale by the owner, Aldo Speroni, who has kept it well and stewarded it through many years. While alterations have been made to accommodate tenants, the basic church structure remains intact with its high arched ceilings and traditional craftsmanship. The building has great bones and is within the most pedestrian part of the village while safely out of the floodplain. It is 3,060 square feet on the first floor, has a basement of equivalent size with a 9- foot ceiling and another 1,500 square feet on the second and third floors. DeWolfe Engineering has recently evaluated the building and reported that it is structurally sound. Support for this idea and its serious consideration has come repeatedly from Bob Burley. Additionally, Ellen Strauss submitted an informative proposal to the town that demonstrates the project's feasibility and cost effectiveness.
The building’s size, character and location all make it a viable option for renovation to meet the needs of a new town office facility. It is full of light and the original spaces can be returned to a state the town will be proud to inhabit. It can be a model of a cost-effective and energy-efficient retrofit that returns the historic character and creates an adaptive reuse of an important building. This is the most sustainable and green action a town can make: reusing, adapting and preserving what is already there.
The town staff and boards are in dire need of expanded and serviceable space. Using an existing building could save close to a year in the overall schedule. This building is ready for a renovation so it can serve the people of Waitsfield for another 120 years! The Waitsfield TOTF and Select Board need to be encouraged to seriously pursue this option.
Seibert, D'Aponte and Simmons live in Waitsfield.