NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Members of the Building, Planning and Construction Committee met Thursday with representatives of HKT Architects, looking for reassurance from firm about the Department of Public Works facility project on Fletcher Street.
They were disappointed.
HKT has a contingency fund of $350,000 to handle possible contaminated soil in its $8 million DPW proposal. But, because the HKT study did not include a thorough soil examination, it isn’t known if a serious soil contamination problem exists at the site. An accurate cost estimate of cleanup is not possible without further study, said Scott D. Lindgren of Pare Corporation.
That cost is a number BPCC members believe they need if they are to bring the $8 million DPW proposal before voters, something they’d like to do at the spring or fall annual town meeting.
At a meeting two weeks ago, BPCC Chairman Thomas Pilibosian asked the Board of Selectmen to sponsor the $8 million question on the town meeting warrant. The board will vote on that request at its meeting Monday.
The BPCC has money remaining in its HKT account to authorize further study of the soil on Fletcher Street, but is reluctant to spend it unless selectmen agree to place the article on the warrant.
BPCC Chairman Thomas Pilibosian said he believes voters should be given the opportunity to vote on the proposal, which is the result of funding they approved at town meeting a year ago.
Selectmen supported the HKT study and design, but backed away when the cost of the project became known. Rather than pursue redevelopment of the Fletcher Street DPW facility, selectmen instructed the BPCC to find other options.
One of those options was to purchase and renovate a building on Douglas Road, a $2 million option rejected at a special town meeting and election last December.
“We hear criticism that we keep spending money on studies and nothing gets done; I don't like hearing that. That's why I want to take it to the people and show them this is what's been done,’’ Pilibosian said.
“We lose credibility asking for money for studies that go nowhere,’’ said BPCC member Patrick Moynihan.