Cohasset looks at options to restore or replace its historic town hall

Patriot Ledger | By Mary Ford
May 11, 2017

In the auditorium just feet from where Humphrey Bogart graced the stage during the summer of 1934 – a handful of citizens gathered to listen and debate Tuesday night on the future of the iconic Cohasset Town Hall that sits on the edge of one of the most “New England-esque” commons anywhere.

For some, like town historian Jacqueline Dormitzer, author of books on Cohasset history, there is no choice: Town Hall should stay right where it is.

“I would hate to see it move someplace else,” said Dormitzer, distressed at the thought of a Town Hall off Route 3A on town-owned land across from the Sunrise assisted living building driveway that was raised as part of an extended discussion.

The meeting was likely the first of many public forums hosted by the Town Hall Renovation Advisory Committee, dubbed THRAC, that is charged with coming up with options and ultimately a recommendation on either renovating the existing Town Hall or building a new one on town-owned land in another location.

Committee chairman David Drinan, who is also a member of the planning board, made it clear that THRAC wants to be able to give the design team direction on where to go with their research and analysis. “We don’t want to be chasing forever an option that is not going to happen,” he said.

Naomi Cottrell of Michelle Crowley Landscape Architects in Boston presented slides focusing on the three Town Hall options that the design team, which also includes McGinley Kalsow & Associates architects and preservation planners in Somerville, were charged to examine. The options include renovation the existing Town Hall; building a new Town Hall behind the library or building a new Town Hall between Milliken Field and the high school track near the Bear Hill water tank.

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