St Paul’s Church July 2017 Update
The Board of Selectmen discussed the next steps for the St. Paul’s acquisition and structural evaluation at its meeting July 11th. The meeting was attended by members of both the Historic Commission and the Otis Historical Society.
Given the interest of both these groups and a sense of how much work will be involved in identifying potential uses for the building, developing a scope of work for the project and identifying sources of funding if the Town proceeds with renovation , the Select Board voted unanimously to charge the Historic Commission with developing recommendations for the project. It was noted that the Historical Society, as a private organization, may be able to raise funds in ways that the Historical Commission may not.
Among the first steps the Commission may take are facilitating both the acquisition of the property and the next phase of evaluating the building’s structural issues.
Several inaccurate statements were expressed at the meeting about the Town’s initial survey of the building; that the survey was performed by an engineer without experience in surveying buildings constructed like St Paul’s, that the survey recommended tearing the building down and that the Building Inspector had condemned the building as a result.
The engineer’s report ( which may be read on the town website under Town News) did not recommend tearing the building down but identified the steps necessary for a thorough evaluation. He has worked on dozens of projects involving old buildings of similar construction. Furthermore, the Building Inspector did not issue a condemnation order; rather he issued a notice of unsafe conditions (also posted on the town website) in response to the survey that requested the building not be occupied pending further evaluation.