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Selectmen To Reevaluate Tarbell School Proposal Oct. 6 [with video]

Sole bidder for the historic Tarbell School in West Groton Village, local resident Brooks Lyman told Selectmen that he is proposing to put one to four educational/ consultant type businesses in the building, and didn't believe at this time that it required any zoning changes. His offer is $30,000. The sale of the school is one of the articles on the October 20th Fall Town Meeting warrant.

His attorney Bob Collins said that they would like to postpone the discussion until Oct. 6 so they could have more detailed information for the Board, but Selectmen wanted to hear what was planned now.

Collins said that the building was structurally sound, although there are some issues and that the areas will be divided into four sections where the original walls already exist. "We will work within the confines of the building as it is now," possibly changing the heating plant and some modest rehabilitation.

The businesses would be unobtrusive to the neighborhood, Collins said, adding that once the new zoning for village businesses was in place, they could come back to the town to make any changes. He stressed that this purchase would put the old school onto the tax roll.

Selectman Chairman Josh Degen questioned the two closely, wanting to know about Lyman's line of credit with a bank. Lyman replied that the bank is interested in commitments from potential renters. He told the board that the "building is a pig pen on the inside. No one has cleaned it up. The offices are filled with junk."

Collins said that Lyman has the ability to obtain necessary funding to make the changes he is planning for the building. He added that their stipulation is the building has clear title and no contamination.

Lyman said he is employed as a consultant in process controls and is a certified firearms safety instructor. He said as an instructor he needs some classroom space. He assured the Board that none of the students in his course will have any firearms with them as this is for training so they will able to complete the program to secure a firearm.

Chairman Josh Degen commented, "This is not ready to roll. I don't want to bring an article to town meeting." Lyman said "I would prefer not to have to go through this process again."

Selectman Peter Cunningham suggested that the Board wait for the two weeks to see the information.

Degen replied, "This is on the Board of Selectmen. It's not ready for prime time." adding that when Country Kids was planning to use the building, the price tag for renovations was $750,000.

Lyman stated that Degen was correct that is was upwards of $750,000, but it was because this was a day care center that planned to use a basement that had to have asbestos removed and that the three floors have to have a sprinkler system installed. He estimated that the cost for him to bring the building to where he wanted was about $200,000.

Following further discussion, the Board agreed to see what information Lyman and Collins will have for them on Oct. 6.

Groton Herald

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