UNION BRIDGE — The Office Search Committee can begin working on concrete plans for a new Town Hall, now that the Town Council has chosen a site.
In aspecial session Monday, the council voted, 4-1, to proceed with plans to relocate offices to the Pump House on Locust Street.
The committee, formed last fall, had recommended renovating the 90-year-old building into offices and a meeting hall. The cost is estimated at about $160,000.
"Now we can get our ideas together and find out what we need," said Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr., following the vote. "We will try to the best of our ability to keep everyone's taxes down."
Keeping costs down was Councilman Scott W. Davis' reason for casting the dissenting vote. He pushed for building an office addition to the Community Center as a more economical move.
"I said from the beginning that I would be in favor of the cheapest way of relocating," said Davis.
Sara Black, search committee member, said as the town grows the community center also will need to expand.
"The committee looked for a site that would supply the town with an all-encompassing facility," said Elaine Holmes, committee member. "We thought there could be conflicts of space use at the Community Center."
The town Heritage Committee also favored the Pump House, saying in aletter the town "will preserve a part of its past as it meets its future needs" by using the building, which members volunteered to help renovate.
Councilwoman Bonnie M. Hyde said she was concerned aboutvoting without an idea of the cost.
"We don't know what we are getting into money-wise," she said "Let's cap this right in the beginning so we don't get in over our heads."
Ted Bertier, an engineer who lives here, donated drawings of preliminary plans for the Pump House. The town owns the site.
"Everybody agrees that the Pump House is the most convenient site, if we can work it into our budget" said Thomas R. Winebrener, chairman of the town Planning and Zoning Commission.
Town attorney John T. Maguire urged the committee to formulate concrete plans.
"We need a package to show lenders, before we can secure a loan," he said. "Let's define the project and play with the cost."
Jones said the committee may find the site too costly, but added the favorable vote "will keep the project going and give the search committee a direction."
About 15 residents crowded into thepresent Town Hall on West Broadway for the special session. Many supported the selection, citing its convenience -- within walking distance for most residents. Doris Greenwood, of Union Bridge Road, said planners should look at future needs, also.
"Don't cut out too much when you are planning," she said. "That's shortsighted and will cost you more later."