Castleton voters to decide historic building's future - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Castleton voters to decide historic building's future

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The building that held Castleton Town offices for over half of a century now stands vacant.

Town employees moved out two years ago in response to health and accessibility issues.

"Problems with our emergency exits, problems with our fire alarm system -- as well as the mold,"says Castleton Town Manager Charles Jacien. "And they mentioned asbestos and lead is also an issue in the building."

And since 2010, town offices have used a temporary space. Employees in the town manager's office say they prefer the trailers to the old office on Main Street. Jacien says the town is looking at building a new office outside of the downtown area, with a price tag of over $1 million.

But there is another option. Fix the old one.

The building is currently valued at $80,000, and the decision to spend at least a million dollars on renovations is one the voters must make. Some say it's too much money, while others worry about what it could do to downtown.

"By moving these essential services, being, the post office or the bank, out into the outside of the community, the likelihood of people seeing each other and interacting is less and less," says Casteton resident John Rehlan.

The bond to build a new office has been voted down three times in a row. Selectboard members say the last election showed that a large margin of voters do not want new construction.

"I think a lot of people are in agreement that we shouldn't abandon a historic building," says Castleton resident Wenger Rehlan.

A final mold and asbestos analysis on the old building will be finished this week. That information will be used to devise a plan to upgrade the historic structure. This summer, voters will again choose between renovating an old building or building a new one.

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