The Associated Press is reporting that even though voters in Hampton (population 439) approved spending $750,000 to construct a new city hall, officials now say the project might cost more -- around $900,000 after only one bid was made for the project.
Village Clerk Sue Dallegge, who has worked at city hall since 1989, said the current building has a leaky roof and cracks in some walls. Moreover, some city equipment, such as a backhoe, won't fit inside. "It's in sad shape," Dallegge said.
This story is a reminder that buildings, no matter how well constructed, have a limited life span. We suspect that most, if not all, of the commercial buildings on Dorchester's main street are in need of structural rehabilitation.
This leads us to ask the following:
- What is the long-term plan to repair Dorchester's downtown structures?
- How do we encourage private owners to make the necessary improvements?
- Does Dorchester need a "building improvement fund" to match the efforts of business owners?
- Should the village get in the business of repairing commercial buildings and renting them to budding entrepreneurs?
Without a doubt, these are tough questions. Nonetheless, the community probably needs to start having this discussion now to plan for Dorchester's future.