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Edmond Town Hall Making Room For New Tenants

Published: May 15, 2018

“The Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers has been contacted by a local tax-exempt organization which wishes to rent the entire former Town Clerk suite [in Edmond Town Hall] and vault,” reads a letter to the Borough of Newtown and copied to town historian Dan Cruson on April 26. Mr Cruson and the Borough occupy separate rooms within that suite, located on the first floor just inside the main entrance of the historic building at 45 Main Street.

The letter came two days after the Board of Managers meeting where members moved “to notify the current occupants … of the reassigned space,” according to meeting minutes of April 24.

Signed by Board Chair Margot Hall, the letter was one of several efforts to notify the Borough and historian that the managers sought to rent the space, which currently generates no revenue, Building Operations Manager Sheila Torres had said recently. Ms Hall also indicated that Ms Torres spoke with Mr Cruson about alternate space at the Edmond Town Hall “soon after” an April 10 Board of Managers meeting.

Mr Cruson earlier this month said that the need to relocate materialized without warning, but clarified this week that communications were unclear.

“I did receive an invoice for $7,200,” he said, in April, requesting payment from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. At the time, there was no explanation of what the invoice was for, and Mr Cruson said that at the time it was presented, he did not have time to discuss it with Ms Torres.

The invoice, which he later learned was for rent on the historian’s current office space, appeared to indicate that if he desired to pay it, the Edmond Town Hall office would remain his to use. Shortly after receiving the invoice, however, the space was shown to other prospective renters.

What the letter, which was hand-delivered by Ms Hall, explains, “The proposal from the prospective tenant is very advantageous and it will be in the best interest of the town that this Board accept it.”

Again mentioning an alternative location within the building for the town historian’s office, the letter states that the Board “is renovating the former Probate Court space, which includes vault space. The space should be available to move into in about two weeks.”

Mr Cruson, however, seeks to relocate to offices and storage space at Newtown Municipal Center, and plans to move his things there with help from the Public Works Department, he said last week. The municipal center offers him more room. Mr Cruson said this week that he plans to go ahead with that move, possibly before the end of May.

Initially unhappy with the need to move, Mr Cruson had also said earlier in May that Edmond Town Hall “is a building I have come to love.”

With a move date in mind, the letter states, “We would like the relocation to be accomplished by May 31, because we anticipate painting and making repairs to the Town Clerk’s suite before releasing the space to the new tenant effective July 1st.

“Please let me know what the Board and our staff can do to assist you in moving and perhaps storage.”

Ms Torres last week said the board earlier in April had “asked me to approach [Mr Cruson] about the reassigned space. I told him we were going to have to start charging rent. I had explained that we have to generate more revenue for the building.

“He would have received a bill as of July 1, because we have to start generating revenue, to run operations of the building “free of taxpayer’s expense as best we can,” Ms Hall explained. However, she had proposed the alternative space. “He had said he could not afford what the board would be asking” for the Town Clerk’s suite, she added.

Regarding the organization interested in the space, she said, “We are very fortunate.” Also, “We need to rent the entire suite to one entity in order for it to be viable.”

About the building operations, Ms Torres said, “We have the pressure of having to make money. We receive funds from the town, the town does help us, but it’s not enough to maintain operations.”
Town benefactress Mary Hawley, who donated the town hall to the town, “had the foresight to put in a theater, gymnasium, offices in this building — we have multiple rental space, tenant revenue, theater revenue from movies and live productions, renting space for events,” Ms Torres stated. Ms Hawley had also set up a fund for the building, which offsets some expenses.

Keeping the building running day to day costs money.

“Someone has to turn on the lights, serve the customers, clean the machines, clean the building,” she said.

Edmond Town Hall April 2016 horizontal WATERMARKED

Two offices currently occupying the former Town Clerk’s suite at Edmond Town Hall are being relocated now that a paying tenant has reportedly been found for the prime space within 45 Main Street. 

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