Portsmouth takes another step toward town community center

Council hires CGA Design to carry out feasibility study

By Jim McGaw
Posted 1/28/20

PORTSMOUTH — The Town Council Monday night unanimously selected a company from Assonet, Mass. to carry out a feasibility study for a proposed community center for Portsmouth.

A request for …

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Portsmouth takes another step toward town community center

Council hires CGA Design to carry out feasibility study

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — The Town Council Monday night unanimously selected a company from Assonet, Mass. to carry out a feasibility study for a proposed community center for Portsmouth.

A request for quotes was issued Jan. 8, according to Town Administrator Richard Rainer, Jr., and three responses were received. The following bids were opened on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Town Hall:

• Compass Group Architecture (CGA) Project Management, LLC of Assonet: $8,000

• Brewster Thorton Group Architects, LLP of Providence: $23,500

• CPH Design, Inc. of Attleboro, Mass.: $29,900

Mr. Rainer recommended CGA, the low bidder, and said the amount is budgeted for the current fiscal year. The council unanimously approved his selection.

The council’s action brings the town a step closer toward the development of a community recreation center that would serve residents of all ages.

At its Jan. 13 meeting, the council voted unanimously to submit a grant application to the Van Buren Charitable Foundation, asking for funds in developing a multi-use community center for the town. The Foundation has acknowledged receiving the grant request.

Any funding awarded by the charity would be used to complete site assessments, a feasibility study, a conceptual design and public workshops to support the development of a design for a multi-use community recreation center. The deadline for submitting the application was Jan. 15, and grant awards will be doled out in May.

There is no financial commitment from taxpayers at this point. However, a bond question for a conceptual building could go on the November ballot. If that were approved, the town would most likely issue a request for proposals on the project.

Some town leaders are advocating for a community center not only as a place for local youth to meet, but for senior citizens as well. The future of the senior center is unclear, as the town is addressing state fire code violations that have already closed off the building’s second floor. 

Field expansion on hold

In a related matter, the council voted unanimously to place the expansion of the baseball field behind the Portsmouth Multi-Purpose Senior Center on hold until the town determines a course of action regarding town facilities — including a new community center.

In February 2019, the council unanimously approved a request by Jeffrey Gambrell, president of Portsmouth Little League, to move the fence at the Callahan Field back 60 feet — from its current 170 feet from home plate to 230 feet. 

Things have changed since then, however.

“One of the potential sites for a community center is the senior center site,” said council member Keith Hamilton, who made the request to put the league’s plans on hold. “We don’t want them to go spending funds and then we put a community center (there).”

Mr. Hamilton said Portsmouth Little League is aware of the matter and is considering using a field at Portsmouth Middle School.

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