PERRYVILLE — Now that the Outreach Program has moved to its new home in the Dominic Cifaldo Building on Elm Street, town officials were debating what will happen to the structure at 550 Otsego St.
Perryville’s Outreach Program, an after-school and summer camp program offered free to kids in elementary, middle and high school, operated out of the former single-family home for nine years. In spite of the charitable efforts from IKEA to make the space workable and welcoming for members and staff, the almost 80-year-old building has numerous problems, including a basement that flooded over and over again, a cracking foundation and a front porch that threatens to fall off.
Denise Breder, town administrator, asked the mayor and commissioners Tuesday for their thoughts on the future of the building.
“Before we launch a bunch of studies we thought we’d ask,” Breder said, offering suggestions such as a business incubator, extra town hall office space until the new town hall is built, or simply razing the building.
“I’m not sure we need an incubator for business,” Commissioner Pete Reich said.
That’s space offered to entrepreneurs with technology and equipment on hand to help startups grow. According to the National Business Incubation Association, there are about 900 incubators in the United States.
Reich felt the vacant lot was a better idea.
“If we’re going to put more money in it ... make it a pervious parking lot,” Reich said.
With some along Otsego Street already upset about the renovations of the Little League field, Linkey said that making more parking for Trego Field may not sit well with the neighborhood either.
Breder also suggested that money could be put into next year’s budget to level the building.
Commissioner Michelle Linkey favored using the space for staff working in the overcrowded town hall.
“Clearly this building is to capacity,” Breder said.
However, she told Linkey that the two-story building may not be functional for a municipality.
“It could not be easily broken up for planning and zoning or finance,” she said, adding that would mean renovations.
“But I think we should explore that option,” Linkey said, acknowledging it may prove to be too expensive.
Reich suggested looking for a contractor who would give the town a free estimate.
“We could see what it would take to get it up to code, but with this foundation and all the flooding. It took out two freezers in one year,” he said.
Mayor Robert Ashby is already on record as being in favor of demolishing the building. He is certain it would be too costly to keep using it.
“Right off the bat we need a new chimney,” he said. “I don’t know how it passed inspection. It’s well worn out.”
Breder said the flooding issue was finally solved when it was discovered that the building was cross connected to a storm drain without a backflow valve.
“The water would come in, the sump pump would pump it out and it came right back in,” Breder said.
However, that still does not address the lack of central air conditioning, inadequate heat, and the need for renovations to make it work as offices.
“Well it can sit there,” Reich said. “We can turn off the heat, the water and the electric and it can sit there.”
“And we can put money into next year’s budget to tear it down,” Breder said.