Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mayor Shows Center Redesign

In her monthly visit with seniors Tuesday, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs showed off a new design for the proposed senior center that is up for Planning Board review Thursday.

Instead of a stucco ground floor façade with bricks above, the new design features vertical bands of stucco and brick. The senior center will occupy the ground floor and the developer, Dornoch Plainfield LLC, plans to have 63 two-bedroom condos on three upper floors. The mayor said she negotiated the redesign in talks with the developer.

Robinson-Briggs met with the building committee in closed session before addressing the seniors at large. She and her confidential aide, Barbara James, showed the old design before unveiling the new concept. The mayor objected when Plaintalker (disclaimer: this writer is a center member) snapped a photo, saying she had not yet shared the change with the City Council.

A contract with the developer has been prepared and Robinson-Briggs said she wants center president Charles Nelson to be among the signatories as a witness. The council discussed the contract in closed session Monday and it may be on tonight’s agenda.

Because the Planning Board meeting will coincide with the city’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting Thursday, Robinson-Briggs asked for just a small group of seniors to attend. At past meetings, seniors have crowded City Hall Library to show their interest in having the project stay on track. The tree lighting was postponed from last Friday, when a storm brought rain and high winds. Robinson-Briggs wants two tents set up in the City Hall parking lot this year to provide food for those who attend, in addition to the traditional visits with Santa.

Planning Director Bill Nierstedt said Tuesday the Planning Board will begin its meeting at 8 p.m. Thursday in a small room on the second floor of City Hall, moving to City Hall Library at 9 p.m. to hear the Dornoch application.

Developer Glen Fishman said his company will pay the $15 million cost of construction for the project. He has predicted that it will be completed within one year after receiving all approvals.

--Bernice Paglia


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