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Canton Town Meeting approves $1.4 million for senior center

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  May 14, 2013 12:01 AM

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Canton will be getting a new senior center.

Town Meeting voters on Monday overwhelmingly approved a $1.4 million proposal to renovate the Knights of Columbus building at 500 Pleasant St.

Residents also approved a two-year moratorium on medicinal marijuana dispensaries in town, double the one-year moratoriums that have been passed in many other towns.

Other spending items approved Monday included $810,000 for a new ladder truck, $1 million for a water meter replacement program, $443,000 for capital projects at the schools, $443,000 for capital projects for the town, along with other miscellaneous vehicles in the capital plan.

Shortly before the vote on the senior center, Selectman John Connolly said, “This is something that is long overdue – a necessity.”

Not everyone was convinced, however.

Canton resident Alice Brown said she did not think the amount of money being voted on was enough to renovate the building.

“What happens if you run out of money? You don’t have a contingency plan,” said Brown, who predicted that town officials would come back before Town Meeting and request more money.

Canton’s selectmen and the Building Renovation Committee were asking for additional money, after asking for a lower amount at the last Town Meeting.

Finance Committee Chairman Mark Porter said his committee was satisfied by the reasons offered for the increased amount of money. He added that the Finance Committee would not approve any more money toward the project.

Robert McCarthy, chairman of the Building Renovation Committee, addressed questions related to water damage, asbestos, site contamination, and the type of labor that would be used in construction.

The building experienced water damage from burst pipes from earlier this year, but McCarthy said the water damaged only parts of the building that the architect was planning to gut anyway. He also said asbestos was found in floor tiles, which will be removed.

The site is not contaminated, according to a study completed on June 27, 2012, and prevailing union wages would be offered for all labor on the project, McCarthy said.

The town clerk counted 231 voters at Canton’s open Town Meeting. Many left after the senior center issue was resolved.

The Town Meeting adjourned with only a few articles remaining, which include the $74.7 million town budget article as well as three zoning articles dealing with zoning changes to allow a nearly 200-unit senior housing complex be built on Route 138.

Town Meeting will reconvene at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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