It has been suggested that the Fuller override be a debt-exclusion override spanning twenty years to payoff. What no one says is, what comes next in term of tax hikes (overrides). In essence what will be our major expenses in the next twenty years.

Now that we are a city, the city council members are probably thinking more expensive thoughts than when we were a town.

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Doesn't Parks and Recreation have enough facilities.

The city of Framingham is in the process of building 1,200 new apartments. That will bring in many trespassitos. This alone may require two additional elementary schools and yet another middle school.

As each school needs an override, the city of Framingham will tell you that the school:

  1. has served our community well for many years,
  2. has reached a point that it no longer meets today's building codes,
  3. has structural deficiencies,
  4. has inefficient and inoperable systems, and
  5. does not adequately support our educational curriculum.
  6. blah! blah! blah!

School Last rebuild
Thayer 1905
King Administration 1957
Fuller Middle School 1958
Juniper Hill 1959
Dunning Elementary 1965
Potter Road 1966
Walsh Middle School 1969
Barbieri 1974

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New apartments coming to Framingham
Most of them are in downtown Framingham,
Fuller Middle School country
# of units Address
196 55-75 Concord St.
270 266 Waverly Street
96 In a parking lot bound by Concord,
Kendall and Frederick streets.
75 intersection of Union and Proctor streets.
258 59 Fountain Street
16 68 South St.
6 1500 Worcester Road
15 340 Winter Street
932 Total units

Framingham: In District 7, town buildings demand attention September 19, 2018
Jonathan Dame 508-626-3919 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - The stairwell windows of the Pearl Street parking garage are broken and boarded; its stained concrete walls decorated only by graffiti.

Three hundred yards away, the Danforth Building - recently home to an art museum and a performing arts center - sits condemned on Union Avenue, brown paper shielding the glass doors that were locked indefinitely last year after boilers failed inspection.

And in the core of downtown, behind a towering, neoclassical facade, the walls and roof of a building that serves as the face of Framingham's government - the town hall - are falling apart.

For years, officials and political candidates have made revitalizing Framingham's downtown a priority, striving to attract more restaurants and businesses - maybe even a college - and to reconfigure streets, parks, and parking.

Many of those goals require the buy-in of private companies or state agencies. In District 7, however, the town itself owns some of the most blighted and underused properties.

After decades of the spending too little on upkeep, the Memorial Building (town hall) and the Danforth Building will both likely need to be demolished, and the Pearl Street garage given to an agency that can afford to repair it.

A task force of five residents made those recommendations last year, but the mayor and councilors who take office under the new city government on Jan. 1 will ultimately decide each building's fate.

District 7 by the numbers

Precincts: 13 and 14

Polling places

McCarthy School, 8 Flagg Drive (Precinct 13)

Memorial Building, 150 Concord St. (Precinct 14)

City Council candidates

William Patrick Lynch

Margareth Basilio Shepard

Sylvia Ruiz has withdrawn from the race, but will appear on the ballot.

School Committee candidates

Tiffanie Dawn Maskell


Population: 7,721

White: 4,084 (52.9%)

Hispanic/Latino: 1,296 (16.8%)

Black/African American: 483 (6.3%)

Asian: 422 (5.5%)

Other/Two or more races: 1,436 (18.6%)

* Figures based on the 2010 U.S. Census. Other includes American Indian/Alaska native and Hawaiian/pacific islander.

"Not all the municipal facilities need to be invested in," said Dale Hamel, a task force member and executive vice president of Framingham State University. "Some of them, in fact, would benefit the town more by disinvesting."

Memorial Building

The building that serves as town hall will turn 100 years old in 2026. By that time, though, most of what stands today could be gone.

The 2016 task force said the town should demolish and rebuild everything except Veterans Hall, the section at the intersection of Concord Street and Union Avenue.

Michael Grilli, who was chairman of the task force, said the Memorial Building was "just years away from being what the Danforth Building is now." That is, condemned.

Because of the building's age, renovating it would cost just as much rebuilding it, Grilli said. His group pegged the cost of a new building at more than $25 million.

The new town hall, targeted for construction around 2020 to 2022, could be smaller, with no large auditorium and offices only for the city departments that residents interact with most; this could allow for more parking.

Last year, the town decided against spending more than $7 million to repair the walls and roof, work made more expensive by the accessibility and fire code requirements the investment would trigger.

Town Manager Bob Halpin said the town was trying to "just get by" without making any significant investments in the building, in case the city government accepts the task force's recommendation for demolition.

Danforth Building

Until last year, the 1934 property, once a high school, was home to Danforth Art, the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest and the Boys and Girls Club of MetroWest.

Now, it's empty and considered beyond repair, after the tenants were forced out by a broken heating system.

"The truth is, it's more of a liability than an asset," Grilli said. "The proximity to the police station and the library make the footprint of the property useful, but the building itself is not."

The city government will decide whether to sell the property to a developer or raze it to make room for 120 to 200 parking spaces. Another option is selling part of the property, but keeping the section closest to the library for parking.

As with town hall, investing heavily in the Danforth Building isn't worth it, Hamel said.

"You'd be pumping a lot of money into a facility that you'd probably have a better facility for less money starting from scratch," he said.

Pearl Street garage

"Just look at it, I mean, we have boards in the windows, it looks like it was target practice for somebody or something," Grilli said. "That's not the way a public building should be."

The 289-car garage at 3 Pearl St. was built in 1988. Commuters can purchase parking permits for $65 to $80 a month. The ramps are structurally sound, but the emergency exits and elevator need work, Halpin said.

The town has talked with the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority about that agency taking over management of the garage. The MWRTA would repair the facility, and then reap the benefits of its revenue.

"There just hasn't been a coherent plan to keep all the buildings healthy," Grilli said.

"So here we are with the Danforth proposed to be demolished, the town hall in jeopardy of being condemned in the future, and (the Pearl Street garage) in need of somebody who's going to take care of it."

Decisions ahead

None of these downtown building projects are at the top of the town's priority list.

More urgently, the town will rebuild the Saxonville fire station, at a cost of more than $3 million, and renovate or rebuild Fuller Middle School, at a cost of $54 million to $65 million (with the state reimbursing some of that).

The task force developed a 10-year plan for around a dozen building projects. If every project were built, the city would have to increase its annual spending to payback debt by 34 percent over five years, from $11.9 million to $16 million annually.

Ultimately, rebuilding town hall will likely require a type of tax override known as a debt exclusion, which would raise taxes temporarily, and specifically for the project. The school project will also likely require a debt exclusion, in 2018 or 2019.

Grilli, who has lived in Framingham for more than 40 years, said the new form of government should help get the downtown projects done.

"If you just compare what happens when towns go from town form to city form, everything gets done much quicker," Grilli said. "That's what I expect will happen."

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