Orleans Boards Back Gov. Prence Purchase

By: Ed Maroney

The Gov. Prence Inn. FILE PHOTO

ORLEANS The select board and the finance committee are recommending that the town buy the Governor Prence Inn properties for $2.8 million and kick in another $125,000 for maintenance, insurance, and design services for demolition.

"The basic message is to secure the property," Select Board Chair Kevin Galligan said. "It's so important we control this so we can plan for the property in an inclusive way to evaluate how we want this to be an asset and investment for Orleans."

Town meeting will be asked to approve the purchase next month. “If the article passes, there will be a detailed planning process focused on how the site should be reused,” affordable housing trust chairman Alan McClennen wrote in an email. “I think there will be extensive public outreach during that process.”

Voters will be asked to approve a debt exclusion for bonding at the May 25 town election, but not for the full amount. The housing trust has voted to invest $450,000 of its cash toward the purchase, leaving the remainder to be bonded.

The trust’s money “must be used for any affordable housing part of the reuse since the warrant article calls for purchase for general municipal purposes including affordable housing,” McClennen wrote. He said it’s likely a fall town meeting will be asked to fund demolition of the buildings on the site.