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About Town: Cary Recommendations On Tap Tonight

Cary Memorial Building Study results -- and recommendations! r

We’re all slated to hear future ideas for at 7 p.m. tonight, fittingly held at Cary Memorial Hall.

The Cary Memorial Building Study’s recommendations are being presented by Director of Public Facilities Patrick Goddard and Don Mills from Mills Whitaker Architects.

Through telephone calls and emails, Patrick told me that the study was funded and authorized at last year’s annual Town Meeting.

He and Mills Whitaker worked with a subcommittee of the . Wendall Kaslow and Barbara Hughey were appointed to help with the study.  

“We completed the study in June 2011, it looked at the building systems,” Patrick said. The study made obvious update recommendations that would bring the building up to code and American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

A few weeks later Patrick then gave the Board of Selectmen a short overview of the study and sought public input.   

Tonight’s agenda reviews that study, which will be online shortly, then it gives survey results and phasing options. There’s even time for questions, answers and, most importantly, recommendations.  

Patrick said they will urge the town to make improvements that will give everyone access to the entire building, some of which are inaccessible now.

Yes, most of it is fine, but some can’t reach the stage, the Bird Room and the Civil Room.  

“I think it would be good for the community to have these areas accessible,” Patrick said. “We can make them available for public meetings and events.”

The biggest issue is an overly loud and antiquated mechanical system,

“It’s quite noisy,” Patrick said. “When there are large audiences in the hall the system is turned off so it doesn’t conflict with the use of the hall.”

Turning it off prevents proper ventilation, which makes things a bit stuffy.  

Patrick went to his son’s middle school graduation at Cary Hall and said it was "one of the most uncomfortable public events" he has ever attended.

“It’s loud and doesn’t do a satisfactory job,” Patrick said.

Easy to believe since the building is more than 83 years-old.

When Isaac Harris Cary’s daughters Eliza Cary Farnham and Susanna E. Cary gave Lexington the land and the building, part of the deal included a town promise.   

“The building was a gift to the town,” Patrick said. “It’s seen very little in updates. The restrooms are basically the same design as the 1920s.”

That gift came with assurances and a contract, agreed to before the keys to the building were turned over to the Board of Selectmen.

In 1928, Isaac Harris Cary Educational Fund President Robert P. Clapp officially gave a speech and Cary Memorial Hall to the town.

“I am about to hand you the deed and the keys. In doing so, I ask you to keep in mind always the memorial character of the gift and the limitations which the donors have placed upon its use. Remember also that the ‘continued us’ of the building for the authorized purposes was an object of solicitude on their part. This means maintenance and thoughtful care, not only this year and next year, but through all succeeding years. This deed, therefore, runs to the ‘Town of Lexington and its successors forever, for the uses and purposes expressed in said wills."

Yup, it’s time to keep that promise. But first, let’s hear what that study says.

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