From Teardown To Town Offices In Morristown?

Feb 5, 2014

For many years, Norm's Furniture occupied a large retail building in the heart of Morrisville Village on the corner of Portland and Hutchins Streets. But the two-story, 10,000 square foot building has now been vacant for several years and has fallen into disrepair.

On Town Meeting Day, Morristown voters will decide if they want to purchase the building from owner Norm Nepveu, tear it down and construct a 6,000 square foot town office building in its place. Morristown currently leases town office space in a different building on Portland Street, and that lease expires in 2016.

An informational mailing about the proposed project will soon be sent out by the select board to Morristown voters. In it, the board spells out the cost of the project:

The purchase price of the property, the cost of demolition, and the construction of a town owned building is estimated at $1.8 million. However, since 2006, the town has been growing a reserve fund dedicated for a future municipal building. Currently, there is $450,000 to reduce the cost of borrowing to $1.4 million. If the town procures a maximum 30 year mortgage and a preferred interest rate, the increase per year on the municipal tax rate for the project would be approximately $8.00 per $100,000 of property value.

Town Clerk Mary Ann Wilson says a new building would be energy efficient and have room for future growth. The select board emphasized several points brought up at recent community meetings that it says the proposed project would address. The board says the project would:

  • be an investment in the future of Morristown by turning a neglected property into the cornerstone of our community for generations to come.
  • be vital to the economic and cultural health of the downtown.
  • enhance property values in the downtown.
  • continue the redevelopment renaissance that has been happening in downtown Morrisville.
  • remove the last empty building from downtown Morrisville and provide, in its place, an energy efficient town office building that will serve our community well into the future.

A pre-vote informational meeting will be held Feb. 25, at 7 p.m., at the Morristown Elementary School library. The vote will be held by Australian ballot on Town Meeting Day, March 4.