Easthampton to restore flaking facade of Old Town Hall

  • Easthampton’s Old Town Hall.  STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/7/2018 11:07:50 PM

EASTHAMPTON — With renovations for the second floor of Old Town Hall in the works, city officials are addressing the more immediate concern of the flaking facade at the historic building, a relic from the post-Civil War era.

The nearly 150-year-old facade, built from brownstone, has small bits of sedimentary stone falling off due to many years of weathering, according to Michael Tautznik, treasurer of the non-profit that leases the building from the city.

For the past decade, CitySpace has maintained the building at 40 Main St. and the organization has plans for a complete renovation of the second floor into a 400-person capacity performance space.

The plans depend on CitySpace landing a 40-year lease with the city. Tautznik said CitySpace will meet with the city about the lease application before the end of the month. He hopes that a fundraising campaign for the $5.9 million project can take off at the beginning of the new year should they be awarded the lease.

As for the facade, the City Council has appropriated a sum of $22,800 from the Community Preservation Act Committee for CitySpace to hire an architect to do a study on what repairs are necessary.

“This absolutely must be done,” Daniel Rist, City Councilor and chairman of the CPA committee, said at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting where the appropriation was approved.

“Old Town Hall is the most important, historic gem in our community,” Rist said.

Once the study is completed, CitySpace will then be able to apply for further funding for the facade repairs from the Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund and Community Preservation Act, Rist said.

The city’s building inspector has recently visited the building and determined there is “no immediate” danger from the flaking facade, Rist added.

Although there is no immediate danger, Tautznik pointed out that if left unchecked, the flaking facade could pose structural problems down the road.

Tautznik said he expects for the study to be completed before the spring, and that ideally, the construction would take place during the spring.

Easthampton’s municipal offices moved out of the Old Town Hall in 2003 to the current Municipal Building at 50 Payson Ave.

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com

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