Around the Hamptons: Opinions sought for new Southampton senior center; Maple School auction ends Sunday; Westhampton to hold master plan workshop

  • Maple Street school in Easthampton. gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 11/4/2022 5:17:32 PM
Modified: 11/4/2022 5:17:14 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — A committee developing a feasibilty study for a new senior center is looking for input from the community on what kind of programming and activities they envision could be offered at a future center.

The Ad Hoc Senior Center Building Feasibility Committee is hosting an input session on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 3 p.m., at the current Southampton Senior Center, alongside architectural firm Abacus Architects + Planners. The Select Board accepted the committee’s recommendation to hire the Allston-based firm in September after receiving responses to the request for qualifications from five architectural firms.

The session will give the committee and architects guidance as they create a feasibility study, according to Andrew LaFosse, co-chair of the committee. “Everyone’s voice is important and will be heard,” he said.

At this point in the process, the committee is looking at five potential sites, according to Janet Cain, co-chair of the committee.

“This particular session isn’t to pinpoint a site as there is still much research to be done into wetland issues and building issues,” she said, noting that Abacus would be looking at the viability of the options and presenting those at a later session.

Next week’s input session will ask attendees questions about what they like about the center, what they would like to see in a new one and what kinds of programs could attract more people to the center.

A bigger picture input session will likely be held at the start of the year, according to Cain.

Currently, the center is located in part of the former Larrabee School building.

“It’s essentially one room,” she said. “Right now, we can’t use our kitchen for cooking or meeting the needs of a lot of people in town — so should a new senior center have daily dining capabilities? That’s what we need to hear from the community.”

Maple school equipment auction ends Sunday

EASTHAMPTON — An online auction to liquidate the remaining school equipment and supplies in the former Maple Street School building in Easthampton will come to a close on Sunday.

The City Council declared the schools surplus and no longer necessary for municipal use following a Sept. 21 public hearing. The council unanimously voted in favor of releasing a request for proposals to redevelop the now former Center, Pepin, and Maple elementary schools.

Once the school year ended in June, the school department was responsible for cleaning out the school buildings and presenting them to the city as “broom-ready,” according to Procurement Officer Michael Owens.

What remained from the cleanout of the 100-year-old buildings were items like large equipment from the cafeteria, offices and classrooms that includes student and teacher desks and chairs; smartboards; movie screens; shelving and storage cabinets; and stainless steel tables. “There’s all sorts of items that are serviceable, but we don’t know if it has any value, so we’re trying to auction these items through Raucher Brothers,” Owens said.

In the coming weeks, he will work with Raucher Brothers again to set up an auction for the remaining items at Pepin and Center schools. Items are being auctioned on a room-by-room basis and sold as is. All lots include an 18% “buyers premium” or fee from the Raucher Brothers Auctioneers.

The money raised at the auction will go into the city’s general fund, according to Owens. “The school department could have held an auction for all this equipment and sold it for their budget, but they had too much to do, as you can imagine, cleaning out three old buildings that people were in for decades and transitioning students and staff into a new building,” he said.

To view the items for auction, visit https://bit.ly/3NvLMo0. To schedule a preview appointment, call Don Raucher at 413-537-3177.

Westhampton master plan

WESTHAMPTON — The town is hosting its second public workshop at Westhampton Elementary School on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m., to discuss strategies and actions in creating the town’s first master plan.

At this point, the town has completed a community survey for the Resilient Westhampton Master Plan, held focus groups, interviewed town staff/board members, and mapped out existing conditions, according to Teri Anderson, who is managing the project. The town held a public session at the end of October that included a discussion on developing a vision and goals like housing/land use, economic development, culture, transportation, and energy and climate change.

Doors open for the Nov. 9 session at 6:30 p.m. Snacks will be offered.

Those with questions or comments should contact Anderson at terianderson2@hotmail.com.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.
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