Just to be clear, neither the finance committee nor Town Meeting have any say in whether the MCCI proposal goes forward -- that's up to Montague's EDIC, which is a separate body (although two fin comm members -- Andrew Killeen and Lynn Reynolds -- are on it).
Personally, I think the MCCI proposal sounds like a good deal for everyone, if it can work. I haven't studied it any detail,so this is pretty much off the top my head, but one concern is that MCCI might have to abide by prevailing wage laws in any remediation/renovation work it does on the building, which could drive up the cost. A different (but related) concern is that MCCI's money is supposed to go towards providing local cable services to the folks of Montague, and their revenue stream is pretty fixed (I think), so they'll need to make the case that spending that money on the Cumby building is the best use of it in light of their mission.
I've just heard about this, and right now I have no opinion -- I'm certainly NOT saying that I don't think it can be done. But questions should and will be asked, and we'll see what the answers turn out to be. I'm keeping my fingers crossed ... :-)
> I was there, and Frank had a number of things to say. Any chance you'll share which one you're referring to?
After EDIC chair Andrew Killean mentioned that they could return the building to the town to join the growing collection of properties the town owns, Frank Abbondanzio said the following (clip starts at 18:00):
"If the MCTV people are willing to make the lease-holder improvements and serve some kind of public purpose for the community and culture, I think that's not a bad alternative.
"If we're thinking in terms of putting ourselves through an RFP and hoping we're going to get something better down the road... I would say that's not a good idea. If we're going to do that then I'd say tear it down.
"We have four buildings over in Millers Falls we're going to be taking. [...] And there's another item on the warrant for [taking] St. Anne's rectory. [...] The old Cumberland Farms building, no, it's a revenue neutral thing.
"I would not recommend looking for a better deal. After having gone through the Rod Shop and the J Street properties, even the Montague Center School, we had no takers (the first time around, anyway). Even for a good building in good condition!"
Last night the Finance Committee met with the selectboard and the chair of the Montague EDIC to discuss the first warrant article at the upcoming Special Town Meeting. They voted in favor of requisitioning $30,000 to demolish the former Cumberland Farms building at 38 Avenue A if the MCCI proposal didn't work out.
In the coming weeks you will hear more about the proposal from MCCI.
You can watch the Fin Com meeting online on MCTV's Vimeo channel. The segment is 25 minutes long.