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Upton Selectmen Support Funding for Analysis of Holy Angels

During a February 5 meeting, the Board of Selectmen gave their support to the Economic Development Committee (EDC) to seek funding for an analysis of the former Holy Angels Church.

According to Committee member Steve Rakitin, the EDC was planning to request $10,000 from the Finance Committee's reserve fund to complete a structural engineering analysis of the former church as well as lead paint and asbestos testing. Rakitin came before the Board that evening to get the Selectmen's support to move forward with the request.

The analysis of the structure is one

step toward a much larger measure to revitalize the downtown area. On January 23, approximately 100 residents attended a public forum concerning the revitalization project to voice their concerns and make

comments. From that meeting, a working group of approximately 40 residents volunteered to meet several times to discuss their issues and visions for the measure.

"We need this funding because we had quite a number of interested residents

in the revitalization," said Rakitin to the Selectmen. "One of the things the EDC

is committed to doing is providing the working group with facts so they can make informed decisions and we clearly need facts about the condition of the church."

The funding will help determine the structural integrity of the building is, the hazardous materials that are present, and approximately how much it will cost to remediate those materials and costs for structural improvements.

Selectman Brett Simas stated residents involved in the working group deserved to know the details of the building before making any decisions. "There's going to

be those people who want to preserve the church, there's going to be those who want to reinvest in the church, and there's going to be people who think we should take down the church," he said. "This (analysis) is something that's very important to the project."

Selectman Stephen Matellian questioned using the Finance Committee's Reserve Fund for the monies needed. "Typically, this is not used for something of this nature. The right way to fund this is a warrant article," he said. However, Selectman Chair Gary Daugherty stated because there could be an article at the May Annual Town Meeting related to the revitalization project, the analysis on the parish structure needs

to be completed as soon as possible. The Board eventually gave its support for the EDC to move forward and request the funding from the Finance Committee.


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