Tiverton Council Moves Forward With Sale Of Ranger School, Tables Nonquit
The Tiverton Town Council voted to draw up a purchase and sales agreement for the Ranger School building and tabled further discussion on the sale of the old Nonquit School at its Tuesday night meeting.
Dozens of residents weighed in on the sale of two of Tiverton's closed-down school buildings during Tuesday's meeting, where the Town Council voted to move forward with the sale of the Ranger building and tabled discussions on the Nonquit school.
The Ranger School, which received just a single offer during a sealed-bid process earlier this year, will likely be sold to Property Assessor's LLC, a company owned by Tiverton resident John A. Pagliarini, Jr.
"There are many problems with that one as to renovation," said the town's realtor, Matt Hadfield. " It is extremely expensive and having a Class A office space there is not desirable. The only way is to knock it down - to do that turns out to be a lot more expensive than anybody thought."
Pagliarini submitted a bid for $25,750 for the Stafford Road property. In an interview earlier this month, Pagliarini said he planned to demolish the entire building because of the cost of asbestos mitigation. He plans to convert the property into a commercial enterprise of some kind.
"I say we take the money," said Joseph Sousa, Tiverton resident. "Sell it."
The school currently costs the town about $2,800 to $3,000 annually, according to Town Manager James Goncalo.
In a 4-0 vote at the end of the more than four-hour meeting, council members showed they agreed with Sousa as they authorized the town solicitor to draw up and purchase and sales agreement for final vote at the council's next meeting. Councilman David Nelson was not present for the vote.
The Nonquit School, with two offers, warranted more consideration and the council decided to table a decision until after further discussion on the pros and cons of each proposition.
A group of Tiverton citizens would like to see the building converted into a privately managed community center deemed The Nonquit Center and offered a bid of $40,000 for the property.
James Lima, a Neck Road resident and partner of the Nonquit Center proposition, said a 501c3 nonprofit group would manage the building and its activites, bringing a focus to Tiverton's cultural traditions and heritage.
"We believe, without knowing per se what the programs for the Nonquit Center would be, that it must remain a place for people to come together to learn, to play, to discover," said Lima.
Operated as a nonprofit entity, Lima said the group would be exempt from paying property taxes. Lima said The Nonquit Center would be prepared to enter into a pilot agreement with the town to minimize revenue losses.
The second proposal, by Little Compton resident Denise Fleurant for $51,000, would transform the property into a mixed-use elderly facility that would combine a single-family residence with a senior country daycare/cognitive rehabilitation center.
Residents mostly spoke out in support of The Nonquit Center proposal.
"We want to keep this something that belongs to everyone," said an 8 Rod Way resident.
Other residents worried The Nonquit Center was not financially prepared to renovate the building and prepare for operations.
"I have heard nothing as to the actual money that will be available to open the building back up again," said Sousa. "I think it is going to be very expensive to do that. I think the second proposal probably has a better chance of getting financing to do that. I would like to see it be a community center and see things like a farmers market, perhaps a community kitchen, and they do have merit, but I'm not for a proposal that is going to come forward without any money it needs."