Pembroke: Town to look at replacing or repairing Community Center

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The Pembroke Community Center needs work. In fact, a committee that has studied its condition for the past year has recommended to selectmen it needs so much work, the town should tear it down and start over. Pembroke’s 2013 fall town meeting will decide what to do.

Pembroke uses an elementary school closed in 1981 as its community center. Built during the Great Depression and expanded in the 1950s, the building has many structural flaws. Selectmen created a committee to study the building’s condition and make a recommendation, but some townspeople have reservations about that recommendation.

Libby Bates of the historic commission spoke at a public hearing on the plan in the old school cafeteria Wednesday night. She said the town would have to spend much too much to replace the “historic” depression-era building.

That got committee member and assistant building inspector Nick Zechello apoplectic. He’s examined the building closely, looked at its surrounding buildings and finds no functional, architectural or historic merit to the 79-year-old school.

“They just slapped that up,” Zechello said. “It matches nothing in the town center.”

The community center committee will hold one more public hearing on its proposal. Pembroke Selectmen will write articles for the 2013 fall Town Meeting, when the voters who participate in that meeting will decide what to do.

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About Charles Mathewson