Town commissioners have turned the reins over to their manager as Wendell’s 50-year-old town hall undergoes renovations.
Prior to this month’s decision commissioners had approved small increments of funding toward the project as town manager Teresa Piner worked with a local architect. to calculate an affordable plan.
The town has commissioned two plans from architect Tony Johnson. The first was too expensive. Mayor Tim Hinnant pushed at the meeting to have the manager take the second plan, which is within the town’s budget, and start moving forward to update the building.
“My hope is that the board will allow the manager to go ahead and implement changes instead of spending here and there,” Hinnant said during the meeting. “From a conduit standpoint it would be good to get it all over with.”
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He added that the plans were not free, and he encouraged the board to vote on moving forward so that the money would go toward the projects.
“It doesn’t flow very well for the town manager to constantly be coming back every time she wants to spend $5,000-$10,000. We know it’s got to be done. We know the look of it,” he said. “This will allow for flexibility.”
Already, Piner, who is overseeing the improvements, reported that the projects had moved forward – the film coating the windows lining the town hall meeting room have been removed and are being replaced by blinds.
Commissioner Ginna Gray asked about the cost for each of the projects.
Piner responded that the architect’s estimate was $80,000-$100,000 – after modifications made by the town – with no specific budget lines .
The town has already spend $30,000 of that amount. Most of it, Piner said, went to “sprucing up” the hall, from painting to replacing carpets to enlarging the conference room.
The town’s modifications included leaving room arrangements and annex offices as they are.
“We didn’t want to move ‘a’ wall and then go back and move four additional walls,” she said.
She added that an additional project planned is to address the rear of town hall that includes the town clerk’s office and the former police dispatch offices. .
“We’re ready to start,” she said.
“When we get to $100,000 we’re going to have to shut it down until we all decide on something different,” Hinnant said.