Is it feasible financially to build a community center in Barrington?
The Community Center Task Force wants to find out. It will recommend to the Town Council on Sept. 10 that a consultant be hired to do just that.
The cost of the feasibility study will be around $23,000, according to the two proposals favored by the task force. The group is still checking with references to make a final decision.
Donor by Design Group, a national consulting firm out of Chicago with offices in four other cities across the country, and Hanna Street Consulting, a regional firm out of Providence, are the top choices.
“We have two excellent candidates,” said Margaret Kane, chairwoman of the task force. “It’s a tough decision.”
The task force will meet again on Tuesday afternoon to pick a consultant and recommend the firm to the councilors.
The task force was formed several years ago by the Town Council to explore the creation of a community center in Barrington. Financing for the center is expected to come primarily from a fundraising campaign, although a bond issue could be floated as well with approval at a Financial Town Meeting.
“How much is realistic to set for a fundraising goal?” said Kane. “Can we get individual donors? It will tell us if building a community center is really feasible.”
Building an addition to the Bayside YMCA on West Street, which just began its own expansion project, is the preferred location for a community center because the Senior Center already offers numerous programs through the YMCA. The senior center is seen as relocating to the community center.
“It’s the logical location,” said Kane.
Town Planner Phil Hervey agrees because the YMCA is on bus lines and it is centrally located in Barrington.
But the community center also is seen as teen center as well, said Kane.
Within three months of a consultant signing a contract with the Town Council, Hervey said, the town can expect the results of the feasibility study. It could be the start of a bricks-and-mortar project or the end of several years of discussions and exploration about the facility.