In Castleton, local residents are weighing in on what to do about their town office – again. It’s the third time in a year and the issue remains deeply divisive.
Nearly two years ago, mold and other safety issues forced municipal officials to move out of the town office – a historic red brick building they’d used for over fifty years.
Ever since, local residents have been at odds over how to move forward – with some wanting to restore the old building while others prefer to have a new, more energy efficient one.
Last year Town Meeting voters overwhelmingly said ‘no’ to a $2 million proposal to build a multi-use town office complex about a mile west of the historic village center.
Then last November, a counter proposal was put before voters asking them to restore the old building. In a strange twist, voters said yes to the renovation, but didn’t approve enough money to do the job.
This time around, with an eye on cost, Castleton officials are seeking voter approval to spend just over $1 million to build a new 4,500 square foot office building west of the village off Toute 30.
Castleton resident Paula Russel says she thinks it’s a nice old building – but that it no longer serves its purpose.
"It’s just not going to be good to redo that building. There’s too much wrong – and I think the town hall has to be a little more centralized – I think the town has changed and it’s not all centered in the village anymore," Russel said.
Others in town like Richard Zutell disagree. Zutell says he voted ‘no’ to fight sprawl and preserve the historic town center.
If approved, town officials say they would then sell the old building on Main Street to help offset the new building costs.