Below is the pasted journal for ADA Compliancy. See attachment to download the full version.
CITY OF WOBURN
MARCH 28, 2016 – 6:00 P.M.
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL
The City Council observed a moment of silence in memory of former Mayor and Ward Six Alderman John W. Rabbitt who passed away recently.
VOTED to dispense with the reading of the previous meeting’s Journal and to APPROVE, all in favor, 9-0.
Pursuant to Title III, Section 12 of the Charter of the City of Woburn, His Honor the
Mayor called a Special Meeting of the City Council to be held in the City Council
Chamber, Woburn City Hall, 10 Common Street, Woburn on Monday, March 28, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. stating as the intended purpose “1. Presentation and discussion of the need to utilize the Clapp School as temporary quarters for the Woburn Public Library and Woburn Boys and Girls Club. Presentation on the need for this facility may include presentations from non-city officials, including, but not limited to, representatives from the Library, Boys and Girls Club, and the City’s landscape architect; and 2. To Act on proposed Special Act Legislation”. Filed with the Notice of Hearing was the following:
ORDERED Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Woburn that a petition be
filed with the General Court to enact legislation as follows; provided, that the Legislature may reasonably vary the form and substance of the requested legislation within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition:
AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE TEMPORARY USE OF THE CLAPP
SCHOOL IN THE CITY OF WOBURN
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 71 of the Acts of 2010 or any other general or special law to the contrary, the building and adjacent parking areas commonly known as the Clapp elementary school located at the intersection of Hudson street and Arlington road in the city of Woburn, shall be made available for use by the Woburn Public Library and the James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. on a temporary basis, and only until such time as the demolition, construction, reconstruction, remodeling and repair of the existing Woburn Public Library located at 45 Pleasant Street, Woburn and the James J. McKeown
Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. located at Charles Gardner Lane, Woburn, have been completed and the new facilities are ready for occupancy. In no event shall such temporary use extend beyond December 31, 2018 at which time, the Clapp elementary school shall be utilized solely for recreational and park uses.
SECTION 2. That the temporary use of the Clapp elementary school by the Woburn Public Library and the James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. shall be exempt from and not subject to, any and all applicable state and local land use regulations, statutes and ordinances including, but not limited to, zoning, subdivision control and wetlands; and from all state and local regulations, statutes and ordinances pertaining to the disposition of real property by lease or license including, but not limited to, section 3 of chapter 40 and section 16 of chapter 30B. Any such disposition shall be upon terms and conditions as the Mayor shall deem appropriate.
SECTION 3. Notwithstanding that the use of the Clapp elementary school under section 1 is temporary only, to ensure a no-net loss of lands for natural resource purposes for land diverted from an open space, park or recreational use under Sections 1 and 2, the city will vote to transfer the care, custody, maintenance and control the land located on Russell Street, Woburn and owned by the city for general municipal purposes pursuant to a deed dated May 30, 1979 from the commonwealth of Massachusetts department of public works and recorded in the Middlesex south registry of deeds in book 8029, page 475, to the recreation commission to be used solely for active or passive recreational uses including but not limited to, community gardens, trails, noncommercial youth and adult sports and park, playground or athletic field purposes; provided, however, that recreational use of such land shall not include horse or dog racing or the use of the land for a stadium, gymnasium or similar structure.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Motion made and 2nd to suspend the rules to hear from the Mayor, all in favor, 9-0. Mayor Galvin appeared and stated that in November 2015 he committee to build a park at the former Clapp School site and to demolish the building, that he remains committed to this position, that since then it became clear that there is a need by both the Woburn Public Library (“the Library”) and the James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. (“the Boys and Girls Club”) for swing space during their construction projects, that there is a compelling need to use the Clapp School for these educational institutions, that a preliminary search for space for the Boys and Girls Club space indicates rental costs of $250,000.00 for temporary space before the costs of building out the space, that by comparison the Town of Reading spent $100,000.00 for their temporary space build out and $15,000.00 per month for rent, that money will be saved by using the former Clapp School building, that the Boys and Girls Club is an important use, that the Boys and Girls Club will have to close their doors if the former Clapp School is not made available to them, that it is inexcusable to allow the Boys and Girls Club to close their doors without attempting to get the former Clapp School for their use, that a proposed Special Act has been submitted to the City Council for consideration, that he will ask the Aldermen to sign the Order to allow a vote on the issue, that this would be a temporary amendment to the original Special Act, that there are no plans for affordable housing at the locus, and that a $1,000,000.00 park will be constructed at the site. Richard Mahoney, Trustee of Woburn Public Library and Member of Woburn Library Building Committee stated that there are benefits to the temporary use of the former Clapp School for the Library, that the proximity to the Library makes relocation easier, that the locus is a familiar location to most residents, that the proposal allows the Library and the Boys and Girls Club to work together to use the building, that he met with the Mayor during the Summer 2015 to discuss using the former Clapp School building for temporary space for the Library during construction, that the Mayor stated at that time that the building was being reserved for potential swing space for the Hurld-Wyman building project, that he met with the Mayor in December 2015 to discuss using the former Clapp School jointly with the Boys and Girls Club, that there is money in the Library project budget for the relocation but there is a shortfall on the project costs, that the money is established in the budget but they do not have the money in hand, that they will leave the current Library building in May 2017 and return to the renovated building in the Fall 2018, that the former Clapp School is an advantageous location, that the building has an adaptable design for the temporary use by the Library, and that taxpayers will save $200,000.00 Alderman Tedesco stated that line 708 in the Library budget provides for $400,000.00 for moving expenses and that line 709 provides $120,000.00 for renting temporary quarters. Mr. Mahoney stated that out of the $520,000.00 approximately $200,000.00 will be saved, and that there is a shortfall of approximately $3,000,000.00 for the cost of the building. Mayor Galvin stated that it was clear that the Woburn Public Library Foundation, Inc. (“the Foundation”) would raise $750,000.00 for the furniture, fixtures and equipment and $750,000.00 for site preparation work, and that this is money the Foundation will not have to raise. Alderman Tedesco stated that there would not be a savings as the money would be used for another purpose. Alderman Gately stated that during the discussion regarding approval of a bond for renovation of the Library it was asked if the Library knew where they would move during construction and the reply was that they did not know where they would move, that he wants to know what the possibility of using the former Clapp School building was not disclosed at that time so that the City Council could have been involved in the decision, and that if this process has started last summer something may have been worked out. Mayor Galvin stated that he said no when the Library and Boys and Girls Club asked about the possibility of using the former Clapp School building because the space was not available at the time, and that the former Clapp School building is the likely alternative at this time. Alderman Gately stated that the line item in the Library budget for rent was less than $4.00 per square foot. Mayor Galvin stated that he is hoping that the move will cost less than $400,000.00 if the move is to the former Clapp School building, and that he was not scouring the lines items in the Library budget nor was anyone involved in the process.
Alderman Gately stated that he was closely reading the line items, and that the City Council was told that the $400,000.00 for moving expenses was a quote that was obtained for the cost of moving the items out of the Library. Mr. Mahoney stated that the $400,000.00 was for moving and storage costs. President Haggerty stated that the Mayor says that the moving and rental costs were looked at together but that is not the case, and that there was either poor management or outright deception in believing that $6.00 per square foot for rental space was adequate. Mr. Mahoney stated that the budget was pared down from $36,000,000.00 to $31,500,000.00, and that he cannot state how much was allocated for moving and rental costs in the $36,000,000.00 budget but that it was probably larger than in the $31,500,000.00 budget. Alderman Concannon stated that there is a lot of information that was provided at the last minute just before this meeting began, that the Library requested funds for the renovation of the Library, that there were specific questions asked as to swing space and moving costs, that the City Council was assured that there were sufficient funds for the costs, and that there was no expectation that the Library would be back looking for more. Mr. Mahoney stated that there was no determined location at the time that the bond was discussed, and that the former Clapp School building became available in December 2015. Mayor Galvin stated that at the time of the bond the plan was to go out to bid and find a location, and that it has been difficult to find space. Alderman Concannon stated that this situation is being presented as a crisis. Mr. Mahoney stated that this situation is not a crisis, that the situation is a bump in the road, and that there is a public building available that can be used by the Library. Mayor Galvin stated that this is an opportunity to use a public building for the Library. Mr. Mahoney stated that the Library has talked to two building owners and a commercial real estate broker about available space, that the building owners did not want to commit to leasing temporary space, and that he does not want to disclose the names of the parties he spoke to about the possibility of leasing. Mayor Galvin stated that the city did due diligence to locate a new building. Alderman Concannon asked if as a
result of that due diligence whether the former Clapp School building was the only site available for the use. Mayor Galvin stated that if the former Clapp School building is not used another site will be used, and that a library operation with 10,000 square foot minimum gross floor area has to be maintained to maintained to keep the library grant. Mr. Mahoney stated that most services will stay intact at the temporary location, and that perhaps 25% of the Library collection will remain available in the temporary location to keep the grant. Kathleen O’Doherty, Director, Woburn Public Library stated that in order to maintain the $9,900,000.00 grant the Library must maintain a library facility during construction offering the same services on a reduced basis, that the Library cannot offer the services in a trailer, and that the Library currently operates in a building of less than 12,000 square feet. Mayor Galvin stated that he hired a contract manager for the Library and looked at phasing the construction of the Library to avoid a swing space but that would be likely more expensive and dangerous for customers and staff, that the former Clapp School building was inspected by a structural engineer at the beginning of January 2016, that the top floor of the building is handicapped accessible, that a sprinkler system can be installed for $85,000.00 the cost of which will be split between the Library and the Boys and Girls Club, that very little additional work is required, that there will be some interior changes to the walls, and that the cost to the city would be $75,000.00 to $80,000.00. Alderman Concannon stated that the former Clapp School building which needed to be closed and could not be used as a school any longer now needs only $75,000.00 to be made useable. Mayor Galvin stated that the former Clapp School building is structurally sound. Alderman Concannon stated that the city applied for grant money for a new school based on a statement that the former Clapp School building was in poor condition and almost uninhabitable. Mayor Galvin stated that he has no concerns about representations made to the State that the building was in poor condition to obtain a grant, that he has been in the building and the building is in fine shape, that when the new Hurld-Wyman School is built the old Wyman School building may be used as a swing space if the city gets into a jam, and that the library is not an educational facility. Alderman Concannon stated that he is concerned that a place that was not suitable to house books and kids is now suitable to house books and kids. Alderman Anderson stated that he has seen no specifications in the Massachusetts General Laws or in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations as to what must be available at the temporary library to satisfy the grant timelines, he asked whether the temporary could be as simple as having public computers available in the Engineering Conference Room and he asked whether waivers were available. Mr. Mahoney stated that the Library serves the entire city, and that the facility cannot be operated in a trailer or the Engineering Conference Room. Director O’Doherty stated that the Library must be open a certain number of hours each week based on the population of the city, that the city receives waivers every year because the Library appropriation is not enough, that the hours of operation could be reduced as the city exceeds the minimum number of hours required by five or six hours per week, and that children’s services must be offered. Alderman Campbell stated that she is glad to hear this is not a crisis but an opportunity, that many in the community believe that this is a crisis and that there is no other plan for where the Library or the Boys and Girls Club can go during construction, that the situation has been presented as a crisis, and if this is not a crisis then it should not have been presented that way. Mr. Mahoney stated that he never said this was a crisis. Alderman Campbell stated that she was told that $400,000.00 was for the costs of moving and storage of the artifacts, that she was told by the Library Trustees that there was no wiggle room in the $400,00.00 moving cost expense, that she was told by the Library Trustees that at least $100,000.00 would be needed for the build out of the temporary library, that if that is the case that $100,000.00 is needed for the library build out this leaves $20,000.00 for rent for two years, and that something went dreadfully wrong. Mr. Mahoney stated that the Library scrimped on the size of the building under pressure of the Mayor to save on the budget. Alderman Campbell stated that the Library cannot scrimp on rent because that is someone else’s business, and that the amount of the rent should be set in stone. Mr. Mahoney stated that budgets do shift, and that the budget is not set in stone. Alderman Campbell stated that a location was found for the Library and the Boys and Girls Club that would be rent free, that the space is 10,000 square feet and is located next to Gymnastics and More, that the Library and Boys and Girls Club both visited the site and said the site would not work for them, that the use would be for free, that Library was still going to spend $100,000.00 for the build out, and that it would make sense to use a rent free property. Mr. Mahoney stated that the property is located in an industrial area, that walking to and from or even driving in that area is dangerous, and that there are trucks on that street. Alderman Campbell stated that she looked for a space and one was offered rent free and both entities wanted to have nothing to do with the property. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that this process is reminiscent of the funding for the Library, that there was no compromise, that she thought we got past that situation, and that 18-wheelers drive past the Library every day. Motion made and 2nd to accept and make part of the record a Powerpoint presentation dated March 28, 2016 submitted by Rosa DiTucci, all in favor, 9-0. Alderman Gately stated that no one said that the former Clapp School building was not structurally sound, that the old Reeves School building was structurally sound, that the old High School Torrice Gymnasium was structurally sound, that the old Shamrock School building was structurally sound, and that the interiors, roof, plumbing, electrical systems, lead paint and asbestos were the issues. Mayor Galvin stated that there is asbestos in every building, and that asbestos is not a problem unless it is friable. Alderman Gately asked how the sprinkler system would be installed. Mayor Galvin stated that the sprinkler system would not be installed in the ceiling but will be installed in the walls. Building Commissioner Thomas Quinn stated that a similar system was installed in the older portion of the Linscott-Rumford School, that there was utility work in 2009 at the old Clapp School portable units, that if a sprinkler system is installed there will be an abatement of asbestos as required, that with proper planning there will not be issues with asbestos, and that all of the issues related to asbestos, fire sprinklers and the like would be determined when the building would be made available. Mayor Galvin stated that money was expended for a structural engineer, that the money was paid from the Library bond, and that a full structural engineer report would cost approximately $15,000.00. Alderman Gately stated that one reason for these questions is public safety. Commissioner Quinn stated that he was a construction supervisor for the School Department for eighteen years, that the Building Code does not distinguish between temporary and full sprinkler systems, that temporary would be sixty to ninety days but is not recognized, and that the Building Code allows the sprinkler system to be installed in the side of the building. Mayor Galvin stated that the $15,000.00 structural engineer report is in addition to the $85,000.00 in costs. President Haggerty stated that the costs to the city are up to $100,000.00. Alderman Concannon stated that a 1998 report relative to the former Clapp School building cited numerous issues, that a 2005 report indicated a number of concerns, and that the Statement of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority which resulted in a grant said that the building is structurally unsound and jeopardizes the students and no other alternative exists. Alderman Galvin stated that the Statement of Interest has a similar report for all of the schools that have been built, that the former Clapp School building is in better condition than the Library, that the cost for the full structural engineer’s report will be $15,000.00, that the cost for the sprinkler system will be $85,000.00, that another $40,000.00 will be needed to rearrange walls and update the bathrooms, that the same build out costs if going to a private building would be approximately $100,000.00, that the $100,000.00 would be spent on the top floor, that the city would pay for half the cost of the sprinkler system, and that an architect would do the structural report. Alderman Gaffney stated that no one from the City Council was invited to tour the former Clapp School building to see the condition for themselves. Mayor Galvin stated that he spoke to Alderman Gaffney and that Alderman Gaffney did not want to talk about the project. Alderman Gaffney stated that he said that he had an open mind about the issue. President Haggerty stated that Alderman Gaffney was the only Alderman the Mayor called about this issue since December 2015. Mayor Galvin stated that $40,000.00 would be paid for upgrades and $85,000.00 would paid for the sprinklers with half paid for by the Boys and Girls Club, that the bookshelves would be donated from the Town of Reading, that the Town of Reading paid $100,000.00 for the build out but the cost to Woburn could be less, that with $45,000.00 paid for the sprinkler, $40,000.00 for the walls and $15,000.00 for the structural engineer’s report that would be $100,000.00, and that the savings would go the items that the Library Trustees needed.
Alderman Tedesco stated that there is no tax savings to the taxpayers, that the
$200,000.00 that might be saved will go to the other costs, and that therefor there will be no savings. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that she is looking for answers as to what this will really cost, that there is nothing before the City Council in terms of numbers, and that the Mayor is only saying that this is what the cost might be. Larry Rideout, President, Woburn Public Library Foundation, Inc. stated that he cannot answer questions relative to dollars and cents concerning the Library project, that he is unnerved by the hostility, that he wants the Boys and Girls Club taken care of above all else, and that if the Library can be helped that would be beneficial. Alderman Campbell stated that she attended the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors (“the Directors”) meeting to offer help, and that she absolutely supports the Boys and Girls Club and the Library but that she does not support where they want to go at the former Clapp School building. Mr. Rideout stated that the location on Micro Drive is not a safe environment for children in the opinion of the Library and the Boys and Girls Club. Peter Carbone, Co-Chair of Capital Campaign, James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. stated that there are a couple of issues with the Micro Drive location, that the location is in an industrial area, that there is no bathroom in the 10,000 square foot space, and that there is a common bathroom for use by the Library and the Boys and Girls Club. Alderman Campbell stated that she had not been in the building, and that she visited the site to view the traffic which appeared to be safe. Mr. Carbone stated that the space on Micro Drive is only a shell at this time, that the unit would need plumbing, that the cost of the build out would not be worth the investment, that this is not the greatest area for kids, and that they looked at two or three spaces for a short term use. Alderman Campbell stated that the $100,000.00 for the library build out could be used for the location. Alderman Higgins asked if the Library budget has a $3,000,000.00 shortfall. Mr. Rideout stated that an additional $1,500,000.00 is needed but that the goal is to raise $3,000,000.00, and that there will be an additional 2½ years of additional fundraising. Alderman Anderson stated that this using this property is a significant issue, that this property has been designated as Article 97 land, and that the issue is not just whether an entity can use the building but there is a significant process that must play out. Michael Donaghey, President, James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. stated that their current building will be razed, that there will be an $8,500,000.00 renovation, that funds for the project have been raised the last four years from private donations, that the Boys and Girls Club is in crisis mode, that if the Boys and Girls Club does not move to the Clapp they will close the Boys and Girls Club during construction, that the Boys and Girls Club needs ten months to build the new structure, that the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors voted to close the club during construction if they are not allowed to use the former Clapp School building, that the current building is fifty years old, and that they will begin to build the new facility in September 2016. Mr. Donaghey offered eight documents to the City Council for review.
Motion made and 2nd that the documents be received and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Julie Gage, Executive Director, James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. stated that the club opened in 1964 with a swimming pool and a games room, that over the years they have expanded the building and programs, that members receive private guidance from adult supervisors, that one in four of the members come from single parent homes, that many of the two parent homes have both parents working, that there are other options if the Boys and Girls Club closes such as the YMCA, babysitters and the like but this will not be available to all of the members, that the club needs a controlled entrance, classrooms and safe recreation space supervised by adults, that there will be a lower use with no pool available, that there will be no more than 100 members each day, that the hours of operation will be 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and no weekend hours, that the office space and controlled access door will be on the Horn Pond side, that there will be areas to separate the members by age, that the cafeteria area will be available as a multipurpose room, that there will be no organized athletics or sporting leagues, that there will be sports typical at school recess, that the kitchen will not be used, that there will be a ramp to the lower level, and that there will be upgrades to restrooms including handicapped accessible stalls compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ed Johnson, Co-Chair of Capital Campaign, James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. stated that they had to raise money, that there are some larger donors, that they have raised $6,500,000.00, that they have two terms sheets for financing from banks, that they will secure a $7,500,000.00 loan, that the pledges will come in over five years, that they are working with Scott Seaver and Mike Pascavage to minimize costs, that they will begin construction on September 1, 2016, and that they are working with banks to obtain the best offer. Mr. Carbone stated that they have been working nearly 3½ years on this project, that the construction must begin by September 2016 to lock in the construction costs, and that some locations for temporary space just do not fit their needs. Sheila McElhiney, Member of Board of Directors, James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. and Member of Board of Directors, the Woburn Public Library Foundation, Inc. stated that there is a legal procedure available to allow the use of the former Clapp School building by both entities, and that this procedure was not known to be available until recently. Former Mayor John Curran, 2 Wyman Street stated that he has been involved in eight school building projects, that the statement indicating that a building is structurally unsound in the School Building Authority letter says “or otherwise” which means it may be structurally unsound or otherwise, that a community must look at all the issues that need repair to keep a building sound for teaching students for fifty years, that you cannot compare this to a two year temporary use, that there seems to be a big focus on the cost, that these projects are in design and costs can change during the level of design, that the bond is not enough to cover the cost of the building, that these costs will be covered by fund to be raised, that this is an opportunity and could be a crisis for both situations, that money could be saved during one part of a project but then other unexpected costs may arise, that the project manager takes advantage of reducing costs in anticipation of other issues that the contingency will not cover, that the discussion should not be about cost issues but what it the right decision, that he cannot resist becoming involved in this matter because of his interest in the Boys and Girls Club, that he supports the effort to use the former Clapp School building as temporary space for the Library and the Boys and Girls Club, that it is unconscionable to preserve open space rather than support the Library and the Boys and Girls Club, and that this is not a difficult decision. Mayor Curran offered a letter to the City Council for review. Motion made and 2nd that the document be received and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Donald Queenin, Treasurer of the Woburn Public Library Foundation, Inc. and Member of Board of Directors, James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. stated that the two entities conducted successful fundraising campaigns, that this vote impacts the residents in the former Clapp School building area, the Library and the Boys and Girls Club, and that the Boys and Girls Club will close if the former Clapp School building is not available for use. Mr. Donaghey stated that there are anticipating to expend $20,000.00 to $25,000.00 to separate the Boys and Girls Club from the Library and for creating a third exit if necessary, that the Boys and Girls Club is only for members under the age of 18 years, that there will be a ramp added and bathroom repairs, that they will try to obtain donations of services and equipment, and that he is not certain whether a sprinkler system will be needed. Alderman Gately stated that the City Council did not create the situation, that the city is bound by statutes and ordinances, that there is no opposition to the Boys and Girls Club or its efforts, that this issue has never been discussed with the City Council or has the City Council been called into the process, that people are looking at the City Council like the board is doing something wrong, that in 2009 the former Clapp School site was to return to recreational open space and the building has not been used as a school for five years, that he supports the Boys and Girls Club but also has to support his constituents, that the Boys and Girls Club has come to this issue in December 2015 and the City Council has been dealing with the issue for seven years, that the Boys and
Girls Club is planning to begin construction in September 2016, that the RFP for the Boys and Girls Club building project was awarded eight months ago to Seaver Construction, and that he asks why the project was not started eight months ago. Mr. Donaghey stated that the Boys and Girls Club did not have the money for the project eight months ago. Shaun Briere, Member of the Board of Directors, James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, Inc. stated that they needed to understand the costs of the project, that they have raised enough funds to begin the renovation, that they are close to raising all the funds for the planned project, that they must decide in the next month or two what can be built with the money that they have raised, and that after a period of months in 2015 they have not been able to find another suitable swing space. Alderman Gately stated that everybody sacrificed to make the Goodyear School building project work, that the City Solicitor said that there may be a way to circumvent the necessity of City Council action and therefore he does not understand why this is before the City Council, and that the Recreation Commission can lease the property to the Boys and Girls Club. Mayor Galvin stated that the solution offered by his office requires the special act. Alderman Gately stated that the special act exempts the property from all laws. Mayor
Galvin stated that the special act does not exempt the property from all laws, and that the
City Solicitor drafted the special act. Mr. Donaghey stated that with the help of the Building Commissioner there can be a ramp added to the controlled entrance, and that handicapped access is near the gymnasium but they could add a handicapped accessible ramp to the controlled entrance. Mayor Galvin stated that the former Plympton School building is not suitable for the use because the roads are narrow and access is difficult. Alderman Concannon stated that any perceived hostility is not intended, that there is frustration, that there have been requests received by the Aldermen to support the plan of the Mayor, that the City Council has been trying to obtain information, and that the former Plympton School building is within walking distance to the current Boys and Girls Club location. Mr. Donaghey stated that the former Clapp School building is in better condition that the former Plympton School building, that the Boys and Girls Club need a classroom atmosphere, and that the Woburn Public School already house after school programs. Ms. Gage stated that four schools are currently used by the Boys and Girls Club for after school programs, that programs at the Linscott-Rumford School and the Hurld School are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and are limited to 26 students each, that the Shamrock School program is filled to capacity, that the “After the Bell” program at the Joyce Middle School has some available room, that they could work with the Woburn School Department for a few classrooms, that they will lose funding if they cannot house 75 to 100 children, and that the 100 children will be Woburn students. Alderman Concannon stated that it seems like something could be done with a little effort to deliver the academic and advising services in the schools. Ms. Gage stated that they could not staff the multiple locations but could provide services in the school, that they would not want to offer a program with their own staff in a building already used, that they will work to get the students into current programs but will not be able to serve them all, and that older students come to the club to work with adult mentors. Alderman Concannon stated that the Boys and Girls Club situation is described as a crisis, that the Library situation is not described as a crisis, and that if the former Clapp School building is not available there does not seem that there are other alternatives. Ms. Gage stated that they cannot have a drop-in program without a license, and that the club will be closed during construction. Alderman Concannon stated that there is an opportunity in this crisis to expand the Boys and Girls Club relationship with the schools, and that in the opinion of the Fire Chief a sprinkler system is needed for books but not for children. Mr. Donaghey stated that he does not know what rent would be paid but that they would pay rent and half the utilities, and that the Mayor would decide on the amount. Mr. Concannon stated that he was told by many supporters that the Boys and Girls Club would not pay rent at the former Clapp School building but that cannot be the case. Mayor Galvin stated that the Boys and Girls Club would do the build out, pay utilities and give rent for lease payments, and that he would give a break on rent under the rules. Mr. Donaghey stated that children pay $25.00 per year for a membership and the costs are $800.00 per year per student to fund operations which is raised by donations. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that the YMCA operated from the former Plympton School building for some time under a lease with rent paid to the city, that the building was also used for many years, that the Goodyear School was site was never going to be built at the Goodyear School site but the project worked when people worked on the effort, and that there seem to be easier solutions that have been suggested that would be better to for the Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Briere stated that the former Plympton School building is fully occupied with records in every room. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that there are boxes but not people in the former Plympton School building, that there are solutions that could have been discussed ten weeks ago, that the City Council wants to make these projects happen, and that she wants to know how to make the projects happen and not how not to make the projects happen. Mr. Briere stated that the Boys and Girls Club can use the former Clapp School building as a solution, and that by far the former Clapp School building is the only viable option. Alderman MercerBruen stated that she hears that position but does not necessarily agree with not using other solutions. Ms. Gage stated that the Boys and Girls Club receives $45,000.00 from United Way, $12,000.00 from a Juvenile Justice Program and $27,000.00 in funding from Mass State Alliance. D.J. Chagnon, CBA Architects LLC, 24 Thorndike Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts stated that they will work on the design of the park at the former Clapp School building if and when it comes to fruition, that this is the kickoff of the design of the proposed park, that the views when you get around the building are fantastic, that he envisions structures on the site and reusing parts of the building, that the building should not be removed until it is determined whether it can be used in the park design, that accessible routes up the hillside will be needed, that there could be a combination of plazas, that seating walls can be installed, that terracing could create an amphitheater or water features, that the greenspace could be used for multipurpose athletic spaces, that the Recreation Commission does not want a lighted permitted filed but space for pickup games, that this is a three meeting process beginning in April 2016 in which community comments will be sought, that they will draft preliminary designs and make cost estimates, that the city has expressed an interest in pursuing a State park grant program for $400,000.00 towards the park cost which requires a robust public process, that the city would apply for the grant in 2017 for that calendar year program, that the city would hear whether a grant would be awarded in November 2017, that the park construction could begin in June 2018 and the park would be completed in June 2019 if the grant was obtained, that library occupancy of the site in September 2018 would not affect the project if the park grant is received, and that if the park grant is not received the project would have to be scaled back. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that she has been involved in three major renovations at Winchester Hospital without closing the hospital, and that she asks if there is any change of phasing construction of the Boys and Girls Club project. Mr. Donaghey stated that the builder Mr. Seaver wants to shut off the site and fence it in during construction, and that he is concerned about children getting into the construction area. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that phasing may be inconvenient but is not impossible. Mr. Donaghey stated that the last thing they want to do is to close down the Boys and Girls Club, that the original plan was for an
$11,000,000.00 project, that it is hard to raise money in this town, and that that have the money to do this project. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that she will do what she can to help the Boys and Girls Club but not likely this plan. Alderman Gately stated that there has to be adequate insurance for someone moving into the building to protect the city. Mr. Donaghey stated that the Boys and Girls Club can shit their current insurance to the city building. Alderman Anderson stated that he will sign the Order proposed by the Mayor and wants to confer with the City Solicitor. Motion made and 2nd for a five minute recess, all in favor, 9-0. President Haggerty called the meeting back to order. Alderman Anderson stated that he has signed the Order proposed by the Mayor and revised the
Order as follows: 1. By amending the preamble to read: “Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Woburn that a petition be filed with the General Court to enact legislation as follows; provided, that the General Court may make clerical or editorial changes of form to reasonably effectuate the purpose set forth herein:”; 2. By adding to Section 2 after the words “subdivision control and wetlands,” the following words
“except for all applicable building and fire protection regulations,”; and 3. By amending
Section 3 by deleting the words and numbers “book 8029, page 475” and inserting in their place the words and numbers “book 13780, page 31”, and that he moves this be adopted. There was no second of the motion. Mayor Galvin stated that existing special act legislation would have to be amended to allow the two uses temporarily in the building, that on April 1, 2016 the former Clapp School building will be controlled by the Recreation Commission under Article 97, hat the proposed Order substitutes another parcel in the city for the Article 97 parcel, that after two years the site will be Article 97 property again, that the proposed Order will amend the law not break the law, and that the special act is legislation and not an agreement. City Solicitor Ellen Callahan Doucette stated that she recommended to the Mayor to amend the 2010 special act as the former Clapp School building site becomes Article 97 land on April 1, 2016 under the jurisdiction of the Recreation Commission, that the Recreation Commission can only use the parcel for recreational land, that the only way to accommodate the Library and the Boys and Girls Club is to amend the 2010 special act, that the proposed order is a new law, that prior correspondence summarizes the 2010 special act, that there was a plan to separate the former Clapp School building from the Fleming Field portion, that Fleming Field was already recreational land and to use it as space for the Goodyear School modular units it was agreed that the remainder of the land would be designated as Article 97 land, that the Attorney General was not going to allow the modular units to be placed on the parcel unless the city followed through with obtaining the Article 97 designation for the lot, that she spoke to an Assistant Attorney General this morning who stated that the proposed special legislation could be filed to amend the current 2010 special act, that the 2010 special act allowed the use of the upper field for the Goodyear School modular units and if the Article 97 designation for the remainder of the lot was not pursued then the School Department could not have used the upper field. Alderman Concannon stated that the Office of the Attorney General approved the agreement with the neighbors to use the upper field for the Goodyear School modular units. City Solicitor Callahan Doucette stated that when the new Shamrock School was built the parkland was swapped with land at the site but they were unable to do this at the former Clapp School building site. Alderman Concannon stated that this was is an easy act to put two entities in a building when the history of this legislation is known including agreements and promises with all the parties which were codified by a special act. City Solicitor Callahan Doucette stated that the proposed special legislation attempts to address the no net loss policy by offering the Russell Street property, that the swap of land would not be considered until the special legislation is adopted, that since this is not a permanent swap of land there may be other alternatives, that the City Council would have to approve the action, the special legislation was sent to State Senator Donnelly to have the Senate Counsel review the proposal, that the response that was received was that the city was heading in the right direction but since the land is Article 97 land then this issue must be addressed. President Haggerty stated that according to the communication received from Senator Donnelly in order to transfer the Article 97 designation the City Council would have to support the proposed order with a two-thirds vote, the Conservation Commission and the Recreation Commission would have to approve the proposal with a unanimous vote, that both the State Senate and State House of Representatives would have to approve the proposed order with a two-thirds roll call vote of each branch, that it would have to be demonstrated that all other options to avoid the Article 97 land disposition would have to be explored and no feasible alternatives exist, that the proposed use for Article 97 land does not destroy or threaten a unique or significant resource, that a separate parcel of land of equal or greater fair market value must be granted for Article 97 purposes to avoid a net loss of Article 97 land, the proposed use must utilize the minimum acreage necessary to accomplish the new use and the resources of the parcel proposed for disposition must continue to be protected, that the Article 97 land disposition serves an Article 97 purpose or another public purpose without detracting from the mission, plans, policies and mandates of the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, and that the Article 97 land disposition is not contrary to the express wishes of the person who donated of sold the parcel or interests to the Commonwealth. Alderman Mercer-Bruen asked whether the use of the former Plympton School building would require any of these steps. President Haggerty replied no. City Solicitor Callahan Doucette stated that the upper field at the former Clapp School building site is already Article 97 land, that on April 1, 2016 the former Clapp School building becomes Article 97 land, that the intent of the proposed special legislation is to stay the 2010 special act until construction of the Library and the Boys and Girls Club is completed on December 31, 2018. Motion made and 2nd that a copy of communication dated March 1, 2016 to the Board of Library Trustees from former Mayor Thomas L. McLaughlin be accepted and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Motion made and 2nd that a communication with attachments from Rosa DiTucci be accepted and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Alderman Campbell stated that the agreement that had been made with the neighbors that led to the 2010 special act was a good remedy, and then she was permitted to read the following communication from former Mayor Thomas L. McLaughlin into the record:
Dear Board of Library Trustees:
First, let me congratulate you on receiving the funding for the much-needed library renovation. I was always in support of the WPL during my tenure as Mayor, and I was pleased to appropriate the funding for the library feasibility study. I think this initial funding provided the momentum and incentive in moving the project along to this ultimate goal.
I am writing in response to a letter I received that was signed by Richard Mahoney. I would like to provide you with some background as to why I feel that the proposal to utilize the Clapp School, even as a temporary measure, would not only violate clear commitments and assurances to the Clapp neighbors and residents of Ward 1, it would also essentially violate a contract in place that allowed us to build the new Goodyear Elementary School.
Almost 8 years ago, the city needed a new Goodyear School. We abandoned our plans to build at Leland Park when hazardous materials were uncovered there. Time was short and options limited. After transparent and healthy dialogue, we settled on combining two student bodies and 400+ children at the Clapp School while we demolished and built on the existing Goodyear School property. All of these details were worked out in an agreeable manner with all the different constituencies that would be impacted. The successful result of all these efforts is evidenced by our new school in East Woburn, which stands as a testament to these negotiations and to the spirit of cooperation that we had. As an elected official, I considered this cooperation to be unique in the City of Woburn and I was proud to be a part of it. It was respectful and the residents were as concerned for the children as they were for themselves.
Part of this commitment and negotiated settlement was that the Clapp was slated to be closed due to its condition, expense and location. The school was no longer suitable to house students and the facility did not figure into long term school building plans. This plan was to close older schools and eventually have all our elementary students attend a new facility…referred to as parity.
We estimated as least 8 months of infrastructure construction in the Clapp School neighborhood just to prepare for the portable classrooms. We had to close a park, reroute roads, demolish and rebuild sidewalks, eliminate resident parking, change traffic patterns and reconfigure a parking lot and a street. Rightly so, the neighbors were concerned about their quality of life both during and after the project. The site was already protected under Article 97. So taking the park was a lengthy process that would require a land swap (there was nothing nearby to swap) and legislative approval. The Attorney General’s Office made it clear that we would have to abide by the rules.
I am proud to say that in an atmosphere of mutual respect and community involvement, the various groups came together to hammer out a compromise. With oversight from the Attorney General’s Office, an agreement was forged where the neighbors let the city dismantle and use the park without going through the normal process. In return, the city re-zoned the entire parcel as Open Space, and pledged to demolish the school and use the site for recreation. Monies wee appropriated and set aside ($550,000) by the Mayor and Council to tear down the building. Our contract was formalized into a Home Rule Petition, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick.
There is no doubt in my mind, had it not been for the willingness of the residents to work with us and allow us the temporary use of that space, the Goodyear project would not have been completed on time. Millions of dollars in grant money could have been lost. We placed the Clapp neighborhood under tremendous strain for three years and impacted their daily quality of life. In return, we crafted an agreement to ensure that only recreational use would ever occur there. Hence, even a temporary use runs counter to what was agreed.
The city did promise one thing however; that we would abide by the terms of the contract, understandings and clear commitments. The residents took a leap of faith since they had to trust their city government to live up to its word in the future.
I hope that the Board will take the time to understand the matter more fully before embarking on a course that might ultimately violate established assurances. I would trust that the library does not want to inadvertently alienate a constituency that had a firm commitment from its elected representatives, its school officials, the Attorney General’s Office and its Mayor and City Council…the latter whom appropriated and authorized the funds specifically for the demolition of a facility that had no further educational or municipal prospects. That appropriation by the Mayor and the favorable vote by the Council alone demonstrates the clear understandings that were in place at this time and serve as a key part of the commitment to this neighborhood. I am sure that if you put yourself in their position, you also would have all the confidence that the city could be relied upon to follow through on its obligations and assurances.
I trust that there are other viable and less controversial locations that could be explored for the temporary period. However, it is exciting to know that the library addition is finally a reality in which all citizens of our community will benefit and be a source of pride. They will now realize the library’s full potential, along with the fact that they will soon have one of the most outstanding libraries in the Commonwealth.
Again, my heartfelt congratulations.
Thomas L. McLaughlin, Former Mayor
Alderman Campbell stated that the letter explains the issues well, that there was an agreement made with the neighbors, that the city must abide by the agreement, that the community must examine where else the Boys and Girls Club can go, that the community must ask what other alternatives there are, that this would be a better alternative than destroying this process which was negotiated with the City Council, the Mayor, the School Committee, the General Court and the Governor, that the city has to be careful when changing laws because all laws then become subject to change, and that the community must find another location for the proposed uses. Alderman Higgins stated that things change, that this is a temporary use, that the proposed use is for the benefit of the community as a whole, that this is not an easy process but there is a process, and that laws change and the City Council must keep this in mind. Alderman Concannon stated that there was no date to demolish the building stated in the 2010 special act which gets us where we are today, and that there is no date in the proposed special act. City Solicitor Callahan Doucette stated that the legislature may hesitate in telling the city to demolish a building. Alderman Concannon stated that the city is asking for the building to be demolished, and that there should be language regarding demolition of the building in the proposed special act. City Solicitor Callahan Doucette stated that the language to demolish the former Clapp School building tied to the transfer of the land at the Spence Farm site is unenforceable, that the Recreation Commission would have to vote to demolish the former Clapp School building, and that if the former Clapp School building is not taken down the land transfer of the Spence Farm site is not in effect. Alderman Campbell stated that the laws may change but our word to our neighbors should not change, that the city said something would happen at the former Clapp School building site, and that now the residents are being asked to accept a further occupancy of the building. Alderman Gately stated that upon occupancy of the new Goodyear School the former Clapp School building was to be demolished. Alderman Concannon stated that the language regarding the demolition of the former Clapp School building upon occupancy of the new Goodyear School did not make it into the 2010 special act. Alderman Higgins stated that the 2010 special act was not clear, that there is a new City Council and a new Mayor, and that the city has to address conditions today. Alderman Anderson stated that there are two very clear needs for the former Clapp School building, that there are assurances that the original legislation is not being repealed, and that the City Council should move the motion. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that ten weeks ago the Mayor said the former Clapp School building would be taken down, that it is offensive that the City Council was pulled into this vote with the representation by the Mayor that the former Clapp School building would be demolished, that when she heard that there was an intention to use the building it seemed contrary to promises made by the Mayor, she recalled that in the first month in office Mayor Galvin tried to overturn the Article 97 vote, that she does not expect the leadership of the city to divide the city, that the former Plympton School building is a viable option, that the boxes in the former Plympton School building can be moved, that the classrooms can be used, that she is disappointed in this process, that she is still disappointed about Spence Farm which was purchase for open space and then it voted to build a school on the parcel, the City Council was told at the time of the Spence Farm school use vote that there were no options, and that she will not support the creation of a million dollar park, and that she will help the Boys and Girls Club and the Library in any way that she can but not in this way. Alderman Concannon stated that he received piles of paperwork tonight which would have been helpful if received earlier, that he is not intent on filling this tonight, and that he wants to ask more questions and investigate this matter further. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that there needs to be Plan B not just answer the question as the former Clapp School building being Plan B, and that Plan B cannot be the former Clapp School building. Alderman Tedesco stated that he did not believe that the proposed uses would be detrimental to
Horn Pond, that it is also irresponsible for the city to put $100,000.00 into the former Clapp School building that will be torn down in two years, that this is not responsible to the taxpayers, and for this reason he will not support adopting the proposed order. Motion made and 2nd to not accept the proposed Order, ROLL CALL: Anderson – No, Campbell – Yes, Concannon – No, Gaffney – Yes, Gately – Yes, Higgins – No, Mercer-Bruen – Yes, Tedesco – Yes, Haggerty – No, MOTION PASSES.
Alderman Mercer-Bruen filed a notice of intent to move for reconsideration of her vote in favor of the motion on March 29, 2016 at 11:17 a.m. _________________________
Motion made and 2nd to ADJOURN, all in favor, 9-0. Meeting adjourned at 10:35 p.m.
A TRUE RECORD ATTEST:
William C. Campbell
City Clerk and Clerk of the City Council