Town Meeting Approves Two Articles in Support of Grand View Farm Project
Burlington Town Meeting voted last week to provide the sum of $500,000 to complete the restoration project.
Town Meeting voted during the annual January meeting last week to approve two articles that will support the Grand View Farm redevelopment project.
The first was straight forward and passed without much discussion.
In that article Town Meeting members voted to transfer the sum of $521,000 from the sale of properties 42 and 44 South Bedford Street, which were owned by the town. The funds were to go towards paying off debts related to the project and to provide for furniture, furnishings, A/V system and equipment.
The second article approved by Town Meeting stipulated the town to transfer funds, borrow or otherwise provide the sum of $500,000 to complete the final phase (IV) of the project. This includes finishing the parking lot, landscaping and engineering design services.
There was some discussion over the necessity of this article. A couple of Town Meeting members said that when the Grand View Farm project was originally presented to the body there was a guarantee that no Burlington tax money would be spent on the project.
Town Administrator John Petrin said the $500,000 was to make up for a gift that was originally intended for the Grand View Project but was transferred by a previous Town Meeting to pay for a fire truck.
He added that the project is actually under budget. He explained that to date the town has spent $2.5 million on the project and the total cost will be $3.4 million. Originally the estimate, when presented in 2005, was for $3.8 million.
"So we are actually $400,000 under budget," he said, adding that the work done by students at Shawsheen Tech saved the town significant money.
Petrin also said the project needed the money because though the lots sold in the other article helped, the original projections on how much those sales would garner were made before the financial crisis. In the end the town received $800,000 less than originally projected, he said.
When asked if the project really needed the $500,000, Petrin argued it did and that without the funds the town would have a nice looking, but ultimately useless, building.
"We have a $3 million invested," he said. "We could put a fence around it and let it sit there or we could spend $500k and complete it. It will be a very nice asset to the town and will be used for meetings and functions. That’s the bottom line."