Will Town Hall Be Ready?
By: Mary Stanley
Town hall on Main Street was still without its familiar columns this week and workers were racing in and out of the building, carrying tools and other construction materials.
From the inside and the outside, the building appears to be a long way off from finished, let alone ready to accept visitors for a rededication ceremony planned for next Saturday.
But the committee organizing this ceremony still has Friday at 3 PM penciled in on the calendar as the day it will begin setting up for the ceremony. Invitations to the ceremony have all been sent out to dignitaries and other prominent people in town, inviting them to a preceremony reception next Saturday at 10:30 AM.
Member of the rededication task force Frank Pannorfi acknowledged that there is still much work to be done at Sandwich Town Hall but said the building will be ready for the ceremony and tours.
“It will be 99.8 percent complete by the day of the event. There may be some stuff that still needs to be done but it is the kind of stuff that people won’t even see,” he said.
Mr. Pannorfi said the majority of the interior painting, including the stenciling on the ceiling of the second floor is done; the columns have been painted and most of the floors have been refinished. “They look like they have just been milled,” he said proudly in a telephone interview this week.
Mr. Pannorfi acknowledged the doubts that people have about the building being ready for the rededication ceremony next weekend, but said he has complete confidence in the contractor’s promise that the work will be done.
Monday morning a subcontractor in front of the building was asked if he thought the building will be ready in a week. He grimaced and shook his head. “No way.”
When told of the incident, Mr. Pannorfi said, “Subcontractors—what do they know?”
“All of the things that need to be done are being done simultaneously. The stuff that has to happen with different subcontractors—it will all be done,” Mr. Pannorfi said confidently.
He said there are plans to move the old piano back to the second level of town hall before the big rededication.
“The piano is in my workshop, and the guts have all been placed back inside of it. It has already been tuned twice and will be tuned one more time when it gets to the town hall. We already know we will be able to fit it on the elevator,” Mr. Pannorfi said.
On October 2, a reception that is by invitation only is scheduled for 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM inside the town hall. The formal rededication ceremony is scheduled for noon on the front steps outside the building.
Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Dana P. Barrette will introduce the speakers. According to Mr. Pannorfi, state Senate President Therese Murray of Plymouth, Representative Jeffrey D. Perry of Sandwich, former selectman R. Patrick Ellis of Sandwich, and Town Manager George H. Dunham are all expected to speak. He said the committee has sent an invitation to Governor Deval L. Patrick, but he has not responded, yet.
“There will be no political speeches. This an historical moment for the town,” Mr. Pannorfi said.
At 1 PM, he said, Mr. Barrette will officially open the doors to the “people’s town hall,” where residents will be invited to tour the offices as well as the second-floor meeting hall. Ushers will be on hand giving tours and answering questions about the historic building and the work that was done.
Mr. Pannorfi said DPW crews will be out at midnight on October 1, cleaning up the area in front of the town hall, preparing it for guests and visitors.
Town Hall Square will be closed to traffic that Saturday morning beginning at 10 o’clock. Vendors will be set up in the area selling coffee and food items. T-shirts commemorating the day will also be available for sale.
Mr. Pannorfi said he is proud of how well work has progressed on this special building and is confident that residents will be delighted with the finished product. “If this building lasted 176 years, this work will allow it to last 400 more,” Mr. Pannorfi said.
The board of selectmen is expected to begin holding its regularly scheduled weekly meetings at the town hall on Thursday, October 7.
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