The future of Halliwell School site

The future of Halliwell School site

The Halliwell School site sits on 32 acres of what is one of the most desirable development sites in North Smithfield. The land alone is assessed by the town tax assessor at $1.3 million! If this property is turned into a community/senior center or any other town use, it will therefore cost $1.3 million plus the cost of renovating any existing buildings to be retained, plus the cost of demolishing buildings, plus the cost of renovating buildings, plus the cost of maintaining the building(s), plus the cost of staffing the building, plus the cost of lost tax revenue (probably $100,000 plus annually) that would be derived by developing the property.

How many community gathering places does a town of only 12,431 people need? There are already the gyms/cafeterias/auditoriums in three public schools, the Kendal Dean Auditorium, Scouters Hall, Heritage Hall, the Town library, the Town Hall, etc.

The starting point in deciding what to do with the property should be to determine its value by obtaining a highest and best use appraisal for the land. Then cost estimates should be obtained on how much it would cost to build, maintain and operate a community center and to demolish existing buildings. Then the taxpayers should be allowed to vote on whether the property should be held or sold vs. an appointed committee with their own personal agendas deciding how to spend the taxpayers dollars.

Lee Beauregard

North Smithfield