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Company Wants Armory

Claremont Councilors OK City to Negotiate

Claremont — A manufacturer of precision cutting tools for a variety of industries including aerospace, medical, energy and dental has submitted a bid to buy the former National Guard Armory building on Winter Street for $150,000.

The City Council Wednesday night authorized the city to negotiate a purchase and sales agreement with True Tool Innovations for the city-owned brick building.

City Manager Guy Santagate said the company would bring seven or eight full-time jobs to Claremont with the expectation of increasing that number.

“By far this is the best proposal we have received and we don’t want to lose this opportunity,” Santagate told the council.

The council has to approve final sale of the building.

“This was one of our goals, to get city property back on the tax rolls,” said Councilor Nick Koloski, commending city staff for finding a potential buyer.

True Tool has a facility in Croydon and offices in Grantham.

Ownership of the building and surrounding five acres reverted to the city several years ago after the National Guard left. Since then there have been attempts to sell it or use it for other purposes but none have been successful.

Late last year, the city sent out Request for Proposals to buy and renovate the building but only one inquiry was received. In the spring of 2012, the city tried to interest the county’s other communities in creating a countywide dispatch center in the building to handle police, fire and ambulance calls but that idea failed to gain widespread support among county towns.

In response to a question by Councilor Kyle Messier Wednesday night, Santagate said there would be “milestones” in the purchase and sales agreement as to how much time True Tool would have to complete renovations and occupy the building.

Community Center Membership Up

Also Wednesday night, Parks and Recreation Director Scott Hausler told the council that membership at the community center has surpassed the 4,000 figure and now stands at 4,188. That includes annual family pass members of 3,181, seniors at 570, adults, 135 and juniors 51 with the balance in three-month memberships. The total number of units, which represents memberships sold (a family of four is one unit), is at 1,947.

“That is above the number of where the professionals told us we would be,” Hausler said.

The center opened in March.

Victoria Davis, a planner with the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, asked the council to consider participating annually in household hazardous waste collections. Davis said when the city was host to a collection day for the county in 2012, 178 residents participated. That compares to 99 city residents who brought items to a collection day in Newport in 2008. The city did not participate in a collection day in 2009, 2010, 2011 or this year.

“There is clearly a need,” Davis said.

Davis explained that municipalities are billed based on the number of residents who bring in hazardous waste. She said the average cost is $45 to $50 per resident. In 2012 the city was billed $9,000 and in 2008, $5,000.

The council agreed to have the city meet with Davis and develop a proposal, including cost, for the council to review.

It could not become a line item in the budget until the start of the next fiscal year, July 1, 2014.

“This is something we need to do for our community,” said Councilor Keith Raymond.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.