UPDATED: Town of Framingham Evicting Danforth Art & Other Building Tenants

The Town of Framingham is evicting the Danforth Museum, and other occupants of the Danforth Building.

Danforth Art – the museum and school – as well as the Framingham Artists Guild, which meets at the Museum, were all given notice of the building’s condition and to vacate the building by September 1, according to members of the Artists Guild. Guild president Bill Chignola told members of the vacate notice at its meeting Wednesday night.

The Town of Framingham recently learned the boiler and heating system had deteriorated beyond expected, and the leaking roof is causing additional problems with the building.

Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin told Framingham Source this morning, the Town met with Danforth Art and the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest last week, and “laid out the facts” on the building’s condition.

“The building is in very poor condition,” said Halpin. “This should not surprise anyone.”

We explained to them that the State will not renew the permit on the boiler and the heating system.

The cost to replace it is in excess of $1 million, estimated Halpin.

Thus, the building will not have heat for the next winter season. Programs, with children, can not operate without heat in the building.

“We told them we can not guarantee there will be heat in the Danforth Building after September 1,” said Halpin.

The building occupants include Danforth Art, Performing Arts Center of MetroWest, The Police Athletic League (PAL) Boxing program, an amateur radio club, and the artists  guild.

“We laid out the facts to them,” said Halpin.”We told them they need to make plans to find other space.”

A new report on the Town of Framingham’s buildings stated the “Danforth Building is more of a liability to the town than an asset.”

The report recommended demolishing the building and giving notice to current occupants to vacate the building.

The report also said the “adjacent and connected town-owned facility utilized by the Boys and Girls Club is proposed for demolition as well despite an existing lease as significant repairs and abatement are needed in that facility as well as the need for a new heating system.”

Halpin said the Town was meeting with the MetroWest Boys & Girls Club today at 2 p.m. about the building and its condition.

Halpin said the Danforth Gym and the Boys & Girls Club uses the same boiler and heating system.

The report suggested the Boys & Girls Club could perhaps move to space formerly occupied by the Christa McAuliffe Charter School and now occupied by the Framingham Library as a pop-up branch – which is the former St. Stephen’s School and Hall. The main Framingham Library is scheduled to re-open on Saturday, June 11.

Danforth Art had announced plans to move to the former Maynard School near the Village Green and the Framingham History Center, but it is very unlikely they are ready for that move by Sept 1.

Established as a grass roots organization in 1975, the Danforth Museum of Art, now called Danforth Art, has grown to over the decades to include a school and a museum with a permanent collection of more than 3,500 works of art.

Framingham Selectmen unanimously approved the sale of the Jonathan Maynard building at 14 vernon St., in February of 2013 for $1 million and $500,000 in community services to the Danforth Art Museum & School. Final approval of the sale was granted by Framingham Town Meeting in May 2013.

Under that agreement, the Museum would honor the town’s lease of space to Framingham State University through 2015, and the Town of Framingham will be granted a 75-year right of first refusal on any future sale of the building.

 

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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