Rem Mastin is a 33-year resident of Sunapee, a member of the town conservation commission and a former member of the zoning board. He knows the lay of the land, appreciates local politics and understands the challenges facing towns such as Sunapee these days. Right now, however, he feels the town has an opportunity, unique opportunity that deserves at least serious conversation, if not serious study by the town.
Mastin recently published his idea in a letter to the InterTown Record, an area weekly, and purchased an ad in this week’s Kearsarge Shopper.
The idea is to look at existing and future needs of the town and the potential of centralizing services in one area to form a new “Sunapee Town Center.” Mastin has his eye on the commercial property called Sunapee Center…“that in time, could be the answer to a lot of the [town’s] expanding and upgrading pains.”
Located adjacent to Route 11, off Sargent Road and across from the town’s safety services building, the Center encompasses “about 5.3 acres” and includes a newly constructed 11,000 square foot building, and to put it into perspective, our current town hall is about 2800 sq. ft., Mastin says.
The multi-phase development project went belly-up before phase one was occupied. The complex remains largely empty, the surrounding parking lot paved, and two acres remain cleared and open.
“The current owner [Claremont Savings Bank] took back the property by foreclosure and certainly is not in the business of real estate and development. In other words, they might be willing to try to work out a plan with the town to get this so called ‘asset’ off their books.”
“Wouldn’t it be great to get all of our town offices in one location…in a “new, totally upgraded and modernized” space with “the latest in ‘Green’ Energy Savings, too.”
Mastin thinks the property might be the perfect answer to a combined, multi-faceted planning project that considers the long-term needs for town office space, the library, recreation and the school.
“We have a town library…in very dire need of more space and, while efforts to solve this problem have been proposed, the outlook right now looks bleak. We have the Old Town Hall building known as the French Livery building, that as well as poorly located for public access, needs extensive (and very expensive!) rehabilitation just to make it functional for any public use,” Mastin writes in his public letter to the community.
“The Sunapee Center parcel was initially approved to include twenty or so condos/apartments and a 100 seat restaurant in addition to what is already there. Do we really need all that? Hmmmm, maybe not.”
Mastin hopes his idea gets the attention of the school board, as well. “Maybe the old school would make a great new library and indoor activities area for children. Wow, just think, all the schools, recreation areas, library and town hall, all [located] on one side of the highway. Sounds like a safety feature to me.”
“If this sounds interesting to you folks in Sunapee, like it does to me, talk to your selectmen, town manager, department heads, your neighbors. Or call me or email me to share your thoughts.”
Mastin wants to gather more information and, depending on the feedback he gets, thinks a town warrant article to study the possibilities might be the way to go. A timely conversation is needed now, Mastin suggests, because once the parcel or part of it is sold for other use, the opportunity will be lost.
One can reach Mastin via phone (603-763-2016) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Filed under: Abbott Library, Commerce, Government, Land Use, Local Government, Opinion, Sunapee, NH 03782 | Tagged: Land Use Planning, Recreation, Sunapee Schools | 4 Comments »