Sunapee 2010 Town and School Meeting Results

Yesterday’s Sunapee Town Meeting, which operates under SB2,  approved (626 to 208) an $8 million upgrade to the town’s wastewater treatment plant and rejected (392 Yes to 479 No) an advisory article about using the historic Old Town Hall for a new library. All municipal warrant articles passed except two. Voters rejected article 23, the Old Town Hall-library question, and article 24 that sought to create and fund with $25,000 a capital reserve fund for the purpose of acquiring and building recreation fields. The recreation fields capital reserve fund failed by three votes (424 Yes to 427 No).

Amongst the approved articles were five zoning amendments including guidelines for workforce housing. Also, voters approved the town’s $5.765 million budget, several equipment purchases and capital reserve funding requests, and a new capital reserve fund for the maintenance of town buildings. It was funded with $25,000. Most of these articles passed with comfortable margins. However, the purchase of a new police vehicle got a narrow approval, 418 to 415.  A favorable vote (639 to 212) will provide for a $12,000 ADA compliant restroom at Dewey Beach, the town’s popular public beach located on Garnet Street.

Voters overwhelmingly approved (724 to 130) a conservation easement to permanently protect 79 acres of Town Forest at Ledge Pond with Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust as easement holder. They also approved (637 to 231) $15,000 for the Conservation Commission Fund.

The school budget and warrant articles passed with one exception: Voters turned down (359 to 492) a request for $400,000 to renovate the Blodgett House for use as offices for the Sunapee SAU office. The school’s $9.95 million budget passed 574 to 272.

Of Sunapee’s 2839 registered voters, 891 (or 31%) cast ballots, according to the Town Clerk.

For a complete tally of town and school Town Meeting and election results, visit the town website.

Sunapee News Updates OTH-Library Resource Page

Sunapee News has added to its Old Town Hall-Library resource page more information about rehabilitation of the Old Town Hall for a new library community center. The latest addition is the Abbott Library Building Committee’s PowerPoint presentation, which has been shown and discussed at various public meetings this winter. Download/view the PowerPoint presentation here, (file size is 2.8MB): PP Library-Old Town Hall Info

Sunapee Library Supporters Respond to Anonymous Mailer

In response to an anonymous mailer that many Sunapee residents received this week, the chairman of the Abbott Library Building Committee has issued this statement.

To the Residents of Sunapee:

A mailer was recently delivered to Sunapee residents, asking residents not to support the concept of creating a new Library by renovating the Old Town Hall. The mailer does not identify its source or fiscal agent, as is customary. The mailer includes several incorrect “facts” and provides some incomplete information, both a disservice to the residents of Sunapee. Please consider:

  • Roger Landry, Town Zoning Administrator, has confirmed that the Old Town Hall property is NOT in the flood plain.
  • The concept plan calls for an increased setback from Main Street, enlarging the entryway and sidewalk in front of the building.
  • Renovating the Old Town Hall as a library is feasible, cost effective, and will create ample space for a library. The concept plan provides for reinforcement of the building’s structure, removal and replacement of the building structure below the Main Street level, and new wings on the east (old police station) and north side of the building. At the Main Street level and above, the building structure and interior paneling will remain, while roofing, siding and windows will be replaced. The clock tower and horse ramp, character defining historic features of the building, will be preserved.
  • In 2007, the Building Committee of the Library Trustees conducted an exhaustive, fact-based survey of fifteen possible sites for Sunapee’s new library. In a blind scoring system, sites were ranked and from this process, the harbor site adjacent to the Old Town Hall was found to be the best available location. Combining this approved site and the adjacent site, and including the usable portions of the Old Town Hall, is a logical improvement to the site concept, as it provides ample building space, 31 parking spaces, more green space and a historic reference that can help Sunapee’s new library become so much more.
  • Cost to finish the lowest level is not included in the conceptual project cost estimate because its public use is yet to be determined.
  • The Harbor Riverway site is 0.9 acres in size. The combined Harbor Riverway – Old Town Hall site is 1.4 acres in size. Up to $200,000 of the total $400,000 land purchase price may be gifted by Riverway stockholders. The concept plan locates a portion of the proposed building addition on the Riverway lot. Ways of controlling non-library use of the parking lot have been discussed. However, peak weekend parking demand primarily occurs when the library is closed.
  • A conceptual design and cost estimate are the first steps in any building design process. As a design progresses, estimates are refined. It is not unusual for public projects to establish and hold to project costs early in the design process. Like the concept plan, the 2006 Charrette planning was also a volunteer effort. However, the concept plan estimate is based on substantially more detailed information than was available to construction estimators at the Charrette, who provided a “ball park” estimate.
  • The mailer does not list Article 23 in its entirety. It omits the last sentence, which describes Article 23 as advisory only, and that it’s placement on the warrant is supported by the Library Board of Trustees, Old Town Hall Committee, and Board of Selectmen.

To learn more about the Sunapee Library- Old Town Hall concept plan, visit

Thank you for your consideration.

Barbara Chalmers Chair, Abbott Library Building Committee

Main Street, Sunapee: The Parade of 1944

Main Street, Sunapee: Parade passes in front of the Old Town HallThis old photo of a parade in Sunapee captures that wonderful sense of community that re-connects people with local heritage.

Dick Leone, Sunapee, leading the goat, re-calls the day. “It was 1944. It was the annual Sunapee Grange Fair Parade held on Labor Day.”

“It was my cousin Sandra MacWilliams who had a pet goat and, at the very last minute, her mother asked me to help Sandra by handling the goat,” said Leone. In front of Leone in the parade was a “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater float.” Leone was needed to keep the goat from eating the pumpkins.

“Although, I was reluctant to get in the parade, especially with a goat, I did get the parade bug,” Leone added. “The following year, two of my cousins and I had two bicycles welded and spaced apart and had a cart hauled behind us. We called it the Potsdam Conference with cousin Burton dressed as Harry Truman, me as Prime Minister Attlee, and cousin Carroll sitting in the cart as Joseph Stalin, smoking a cigar and getting sick as all get out.”

“There was always prizes, first, second and third place ribbons given out for the parade.” Artie Osborne’s grandmother Hattie Gamsby was usually in charge of the judging said Leone. “I’ll never forget Artie’s mother Phyllis, who was assisting with judging, announced that we had won first prize.”

“The parade route went from lower village to the harbor and back” passing the Old Town Hall along the way. Back in those times, Leone said, local fairground events included a large turnout of vendors, horse pulling and other activities and were held where Micro Precision is now located at the corner of Main Street and Route 11.

Photo courtesy of the Sunapee Historical Society

Sunapee Roundtable: Library Community Center Concept

Architectural rendering of Old Town Hall-Library Concept Plan by Diana Piotrow, New London.

Architectural rendering by Diana Piotrow, New Londow, recently illustrated the Old Town Hall-Library concept plan with interior and exterior views. A roundtable discussion on the plan will be held in Sunapee on Tuesday, February 16.

Sunapee voters will have an opportunity to learn about the new Sunapee Library-Old Town Hall concept plan at the Sunapee Town Office meeting room on Tuesday, February 16 at 7 p.m. A roundtable forum, hosted by the Abbott Library building committee, will discuss the current proposal–the re-use of a historic town-owned building for a new town library and community center–and a related warrant article that will be voted on in March.

Building committee members Barbara Chalmers and Bruce Jennings, local historian Ron Garceau, and Maggie Stier, statewide field representative for the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, will participate and be available to answer questions.

Topics to be covered include the concept and site plan, current library needs, and how the project fits with town planning goals. Also, the value of historic preservation and funding opportunities will be discussed.

The public is invited to attend; a meet and greet will start at 6:50 p.m.

By architect and artist Diana Piotrow, New London, an interior rendering and, below, an exterior building view from Main Street.

On the Sunapee Town Warrant, article 23 will ask voters if they support a joint project that would expand a previously approved library site at Sunapee Harbor to include the adjacent Old Town Hall property while preserving the building’s historic features, reserving space in the building for other community uses, and continuing to seek private funding for the new library.

Town Meeting is March 9.

For related information, see our OTH-Library page.

Main Street-East View as Envisioned in Concept Plan. Architectural rendering by Diana Piotrow, New London.

Sunapee Discusses New Library Plan

Site plan by James Wassell, Sunapee, of the concept plan for re-use of the Old Town Hall for a new Sunapee library-community center

Site plan rendering by James Wassell, Sunapee, of the concept plan for use of the Old Town Hall for a new Sunapee library-community center. Presentations continue in Sunapee to inform voters about the concept and town warrant article 23.

To follow up Sunapee’s deliberative session last week where re-use of the Old Town Hall for the new town library was debated, the Abbott Library Building Committee is hosting a round table discussion on the library’s Concept Plan and warrant article 23. The public forum will be held on Tuesday, February 16, following a trustees meeting at the Town Office meeting room at 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be Maggie Stier, field representative for the NH Preservation Alliance. Prior to the forum, a ten-minute “meet and greet” is planned at 6:50 p.m.

Library trustees, the Old Town Hall Committee, and Sunapee selectmen voted to put an article on the March 2010 Town Warrant to help determine the level of support for a joint project to re-use of the Old Town Hall for a new library and other town uses.

Warrant Article #23 asks: “Do you favor expanding the previously approved library Harbor site to include the adjacent Old Town Hall property, renovating the Old Town Hall for a library while preserving the horse ramp and clock tower, reserving a portion of the building for other town uses, while continuing to seek private funding? This article is advisory only and is intended to provide the Library Trustees, the Old Town Hall Committee, and the Select Board with a sense of the voters’ opinions.”

However, it’s not clear sailing for supporters of the joint project. After the selectmen voted to put an advisory warrant article on the ballot, an opposing article was presented by petition. Continue reading

Re-use of Sunapee OTH, Inspired Example of Historic Preservation Says James Garvin

Artist's rendering by James Wassell, Rock Maple Studio, Sunapee: The Sunapee Old Town Hall-Library as presented in the current concept plan for "adaptive re-use of this landmark building."

“The adaptive re-use of this landmark building [in Sunapee] would not only represent an inspired example of historic preservation, but would place the new library in the very heart of Sunapee Harbor, the town’s historic village center,” said State Architectural Historian James Garvin.

“A building that is imbued with so much history, pride, and symbolic identity is a treasure such as few communities can boast of.  It would be fitting if this structure, so interwoven into Sunapee’s community fabric, could assume yet another life of service as the town’s meeting place and intellectual heart.” – Read more…

See the OTH-Library section, a Sunapee News page providing information, resources and links.

Sunapee Voters Will Consider New Idea for Old Town Hall

Sunapee Old Town Hall-Library Concept Plan: Main Street view

As voters in Sunapee prepare for the town deliberative session on Tuesday, February 2 and Town Meeting in March, many are just learning about a new idea for the Old Town Hall. It’s about combining civic projects and maximizing resources. It’s about preserving the last large historic town building and putting it to good use as a new town library with community space.

A town warrant article (#23) will ask voters: “Do you favor expanding the previously approved library Harbor site to include the adjacent Old Town Hall property, renovating the Old Town Hall for a library while preserving the horse ramp and clock tower, reserving a portion of the building for other town uses, while continuing to seek private funding? This article is advisory only and is intended to provide the Library Trustees, the Old Town Hall Committee, and the Select Board with a sense of voters’ opinions.”

(See New Plans Emerge for Historic Old Town Hall)

Last autumn the Abbott Library Building Committee prepared a concept plan that proposed reconstructing and adding on to the Old Town Hall, a landmark building at the entrance to Sunapee Harbor, while preserving many of its important features. The conceptual plan includes drawings prepared by architect Barbara Chalmers, chair of the building committee. See below.

Information about the project is available at the Abbott Library website under the Building Committee tab and in a flyer recently published by supporters of the project. To view/download the informational flyer, click OTH-Library Project Info (PDF 336 KB). The informational flyer addresses parking, layout and cost and funding and provides contact information for voters that want more information.

New Plans Emerge for Historic Old Town Hall in Sunapee

NH State Survey Coordinator Mary Kate Ryan (center), NH Division of Historic Resources, recently presented Betsy Katz (left) and Betsy Webb (right), members of the Old Town Hall Committee, certification of the State Historic Registration of the Sunapee Old Town Hall.

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources announced that the State Resource Council has added the Harbor House Livery/Sunapee Old Town Hall to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places.  Built c.1899, the building originally served the tourist trade around Lake Sunapee as a livery stable attached to the Harbor House Hotel. It is the last large historic town building in Sunapee and is the subject of renewed interest as a new concept plan for the old building emerges.

The four-floor structure, a regional landmark, stands between Main Street and the Sugar River in the village of Sunapee Harbor. Although adapted for different uses through the years, the wood frame building still has many original features such as an interior circular horse ramp used by the livery.

There are few if any buildings either in or around Sunapee Harbor that are more important to maintaining and preserving the wonderful visual quality and character of the community than the Harbor House Livery/Old Town Hall.— Historic preservationist Paul Mirski.

In 1920, Bert Sawyer deeded the property to the Town of Sunapee and it became the town office and in 1926 Moses Knowlton donated the Town Clock to the building.

Before new facilities were built, the Old Town Hall housed municipal offices: the selectmen, town clerk, water and sewer department, and fire and police departments. It also served as a Municipal Court and the third floor meeting room hosted functions. In recent times, it became the home of the Sunapee Thrift Shop.

Committees in Sunapee are now looking at new community use for the building.

In September 2009, the town’s OTH committee voted unanimously “to work diligently” with the town’s Library Building Committee to see if a feasible plan could be developed that would provide space for a new and larger town library. The Abbott Library building committee examined the wood frame structure and found that a joint project would be feasible and could include community space as well.

“This unified project presents a rare opportunity for the town of Sunapee to control its future in dramatic yet common sense fashion by making great use of available space while preserving one of the last vestiges of its history, and increasing off street parking and public green space at the same time,” said Mike Durfor, Sunapee. Durfor is a member of the OTH Committee charged with advising the selectmen on the building’s best use.

NH State Architectural Historian James L. Garvin said, “The adaptive use of this landmark building would not only represent an inspired example of historic preservation, but place the new library in the very heart of Sunapee Harbor.”

In March, an advisory warrant article sponsored by the board selectmen will ask voters if they support the concept of expanding the previously approved library site to combine projects: a new library with historic preservation of the Old Town Hall, while also providing for wider community use of the building.

“We believe the best course of action [for the OTH] is a library,” said OTH Committee Chairman Dana Ramspott, caretaker of the Town Clock. “I hope that the Town Clock, which has been a part of my life, can someday be on top of a new library. Moses Knowlton, who originally donated the clock and placed it on the Old Town Hall, would be pleased that his timepiece remains a centerpiece in Sunapee Harbor.”

Library Comm. Reviews Cost for Sunapee OTH Site Tonight

Tonight (Tuesday, December 1) in Sunapee, the Abbott Library Building Committee and members of the Old Town Hall Committee will meet to review conceptual plans and cost estimates for building a new town library in the old town hall. In recent months, the library  committee has gathered information and prepared conceptual plans for possible library use of the old town hall property, located on Main Street in the harbor village district of town. Tonight, committee members will explore the cost of such a project. Building Committee Chair Barbara Chalmers is expected to present two cost estimates: 1) to renovate and 2) to rebuild. The meeting will be held at the Sunapee Town Hall on Edgemont Road starting at 6:15 p.m.

Two years ago, the library identified a Sunapee Harbor Riverway site (former Harbor Hotel property) for the new library, but voted in March 2009 to put fundraising on hold due to the economy. The trustees also agreed to remain open to other building options for the library. The old town hall concept incorporates the adjacent Harbor Riverway parcel in its plans.

Read a related article: New Sunapee Library in Old Town Hall? Committees Look at Conceptual Plan. (

Download the conceptual plan showing section sketches of the building, (956 KB): OTH plan and section sketches

New Sunapee Library in Old Town Hall? Committees Look at Conceptual Plan

Earlier in the month, at the November 10, regular meeting of the Old Town Hall Committee in Sunapee, Barbara Chalmers, chair of the Abbott Library Building Committee, presented conceptual drawings for a new library in the old town hall. Both the OTH committee and library board of trustees had previously endorsed the idea to explore the viability of such a project.

The conceptual plan Chalmers presented shows library use of 6,000 sq. ft. of the existing old town hall and a 3,300 sq. ft. addition to meet the library’s space need of 9,300 sq. ft. The library would not use the basement/River Walk level and limit public use of the fourth floor to a “mezzanine” because of code requirements for a building of this design.

In order to facilitate an informed community discussion about the possibility, Chalmers volunteered to do the conceptual design and prepare the drawings. However, if the old town hall-library project moves forward, an architect (not Chalmers) would need to be hired.

Based on the plan, Milestone Engineering of Concord, NH is preparing two estimates: to renovate the building and to tear-down/rebuild to match. The library building committee will discuss the estimates when it next meets, and representatives of the OTH agreed to attend. That meeting will likely occur within the next two weeks.

The OTHC, when they met in October, identified parts of the historic building that they would like preserved: the clock tower, circular horse ramp, and stable/barn portion. Also, committee members expressed interest in keeping the current window layout and a portion of the building for community use.

Since 2007, the OTH committee, appointed by the selectmen, has been working to preserve and find the best use for the town-owned property. The library trustees continue a decade-old effort to build a larger, more serviceable library. While the trustees have available new building plans for a lot adjacent to the old town hall, they agreed earlier in the year to remain open to other options.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the OTHC is Tuesday, December 8 at 4:30 p.m. at the Town Hall meeting room. OTHC members and alternates are: Dana Rampsott (chair), Jo Hill (vice-chair), Kevin Rickard, Mike Durfor, Tony Bergeron Katie Richardson, Ellie White, Betsy Katz, Betsy Webb and Ron Garceau.

Members of the Abbott Library Building Committee are: Barbara Chalmers (chair), Rhonda Gurney (co-chair), Peter White, Faith Reney, Bruce Jennings, Xan Gallup, Lois Gallup and Library Director John Walden.

Shown here are four exterior views: North Main Street (top); East, facing Sunapee Harbor; South, facing the Sugar River; and West Elevation, facing down Main Street (bottom).

Could Two Major Projects in Sunapee Join into One?

A committee appointed by the Sunapee board of selectmen and charged with planning for the old town hall on Main Street at Sunapee Harbor will hold a joint meeting with the library building committee on Thursday, October 15 at the Safety Services Building on Sargent Road at 5:30 p.m.

The Old Town Hall/Harbor House Livery committee (OTHC) and members of the Abbott Library building committee are expected to discuss whether the historic old town hall owned by the town could possibly house the new library, a project now slated for the adjacent property, the former Harbor Hotel lot.

At yesterday’s OTHC meeting held at the town offices, Dana Ramspott, chairman, said the library group wanted to discuss the idea in more detail.

Last month, the library trustees voted 5-2 to explore the possibilities and the OTHC agreed to “work diligently with the library building committee to see if a feasible plan can be developed.”

Rhonda Gurney, co-chair of the library building committee, attended the meeting yesterday and shared some draft drawings of the building if re-designed for library use.

“These are just rough drawings and something to think about,” added Gurney.

Chalmers, an architecture experienced in designing public projects, donated the conceptual drawings; she chairs the library building committee and is a library trustee, and is expected to participate in the joint meeting on Thursday.

Meanwhile to improve the sub-standard space used by the town thrift shop, the town continues to refurbish the former police department in the old livery. Ramspott said the painting is done. Still to do: some plumbing, carpeting and meeting with the thrift shop committee to plan fixture needs.

“Do we have a date for a ribbon cutting ceremony?” asked OTHC member Mike Durfor.

Not yet, Ramspott said.

Once completed, the thrift shop will move from small, unimproved rooms to a renovated, insulated space on the east side of old town hall.

Other members of the OTH committee are Kevin Rickard, Betsy Katz, Katie Richardson, Tony Bergeron, Ellie White, Jo Hill and Betsy Webb.

Other members of the library building committee are Peter White, Faith Reney, Bruce Jennings, Xan Gallup, Lois Gallup and John Walden.

Postscript to One-way Loop in Sunapee received several inquiries recently about the one-way loop. In talking yesterday with Sunapee Town Manager Donna Nashawaty, this is what we found out, and it’s provided with added background.

The set up for the one-way loop at Sunapee Harbor came down Wednesday morning. It took an hour to dismantle and remove the Jersey barriers and one-way signs, Nashawaty said. The cost to the town for trying the one-way loop, for signs and labor, was “under $1,000.” The highway department had the barriers and purchased signs that can be re-used; it involved less labor than expected.

What was the impetus behind the one-way loop? It was different for different people, Nashawaty explained. When the board of selectmen voted in May to test the traffic plan, some selectmen said it would not work, but it was time to put it to the test.

The idea re-emerged when a Charrette explored re-development of the old town hall, Nashawaty said. The Charrette also studied the surrounding harbor village and “the needed pieces” that provide “development opportunities.” The idea was “to implement the plan…incrementally” over time. The first step, “start with the one-way loop,” thought to be “a do-able idea.”

OTHCharretteThe “Sunapee Old Town Hall & Village Master Plan Design Charrette” conducted in June 2007 looked at possible future uses of old town hall, area parking, traffic flow and pedestrian access, and even envisioned adding a pedestrian bridge across the Sugar River so people could cross to Main Street from River Road.

Background info: Voters in 2007 approved funding the Old Town Hall Charrette. Subsequently, the OTH Committee received a grant from PlanNH for the study, which involved getting public in-put and working collaboratively with professional planners. Then, in 2008, voters moved the idea forward by approving $6,000 for “designing the Harbor Loop Plan as defined in [the] rough draft in the Charrette of the Old Town Hall plan.” In May, the selectmen approved testing the loop, choosing a clockwise flow vs. the suggested counter clockwise plan in the original report.

The 2007 Charrette Report is available on-line at:

Meeting minutes for the board of selectmen are available on-line at:

Disclosure: This post and other recent articles about the one-way loop was written by Catherine Bushueff, a former member (2006-07) of the Old Town Hall Committee.


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