It was a fire station.
It was a crime watch center.
And now — after more than 100 years of serving the town in one capacity or another — the Bay Spring Community Center will become a center for arts and culture and a meeting space for residents and town officials.
At its meeting earlier this month, the Barrington Town Council approved an agreement between the town and the Friends of the Bay Spring Community Center to enter a public/private partnership. The new deal adds the center to the town’s inventory of available meeting spaces.
The agreement also coincides with the grand re-opening of the Bay Spring Community Center. On Saturday, Oct. 19, the center will play host to a big party — kids’ games, face-painting, live music, a photo booth, non-alcoholic drinks, cookies, and cake will be served, and food trucks will be on site — recognizing a series of renovations and improvements to the center.
Dave Parkhurst, the president of the board for the Friends of the Bay Spring Community Center, said he was excited about the new partnership with the town and what it will mean for residents. He said the new deal will make it easier for the center to continue hosting beneficial programs and also open the building up to other people.
“There are a lot of creative and talented people in this town and this will give them another outlet where they can ply their craft,” Mr. Parkhurst said.
He said in prior years the center hosted a storytime café, where a writer worked with children to help them create stories and then perform their tales on stage.
“We’d like to get to a point where we have a catalogue of programs that serve a variety of needs,” Mr. Parkhurst said. “Everything knitting and quilting to programs for kids and seniors… The rest of the time it will be an open space.”
The Bay Spring Community Center will also continue to play host to events like the Local Brew Coffeehouse, which features local musicians playing to local fans.
On Saturday, the Coffeehouse will host Mark Whittaker, French Roast, Bay Spring Folk, Mr. Whodo, Hollow Turtle, and poets Stan DeAngelis, Stuart Weymouth and Kara Provost. That will begin at 6:30, shortly after the ribbon cutting ceremony and 5 p.m. tour of the renovated building.
A big part of the grand re-opening is celebrating the ADA upgrades at the Bay Spring Community Center.
For years, the center’s second floor stage was tough to access for folks with disabilities. Now, with the help of town financing, the center has a new electric lift.
The building has also been fitted with a fire suppression system.
“The previous council had the vision to save this building from the wrecking ball,” Mr. Parkhurst said. “They knew the town needed the space.”
Mr. Parkhurst said that while the town dedicated tens of thousands of dollars toward the renovation of the center, the Friends of the Bay Spring Community Center also pitched in. The volunteers held numerous fund-raisers and donated about $7,000 to the work.
“It’s been a lot of work,” Mr. Parkhurst added.
Slate of events for Oct. 19 celebration
4 p.m.: Kids’ games, face painting, Flaunt Photo Booth, and the Barrington High School Jazz Combo
5: A ribbon cutting and tours of the building (Snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, cookies, and cake will be served, and food trucks will be on site for more food choices.)
6:30: Local Brew Coffeehouse featuring Mark Whittaker, French Roast, Bay Spring Folk, Mr. Whodo, Hollow Turtle, and poets Stan DeAngelis, Stuart Weymouth and Kara Provost