Hewitt Farm Pavilion

Since the Hewitt Farm Recreation Pavilion seems to be a topic of interest and exciting new addition to our town, I thought I would share the recent history of how it came to be to help clear up some misconceptions and misinformation that continues to circulate. I reviewed this at the last regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen. As always please call town hall or message me directly for accurate information in town. Town Hall elected officials and staff work very hard to do what is right for the town and although things may not always be done perfectly (we are all human) our integrity and intentions are always in the right place…

In April, Recreation Commission began discussing the funding of the remainder of the Hewitt farm pavilion as another place to host recreational activities for the town as section 14 in the recreation ordinance guides them on. They opted to wait to make a decision on the pavilion until the year-end got closer, so they had a better idea of the funds they had remaining. They met in open meeting fully publicized on April 4th, April 17th, and it appeared on their agenda for a cancelled meeting May 2, an again on the agendas for May 15, and June 6. They had meetings spanning 3 months where this topic was reviewed. Upon seeing they had money remaining in their budget (much due to the school building project and lack of certain recreational expense related to lack of facilities to hold them in) they opted to authorize up to $13,000.00 for the purchase of this pavilion. Though $13,000 was authorized less than $9,500.00 was needed from the town.
As a reminder, back in January of 2018 Bill Ricker as a champion for this project wrote to the Board of Selectmen indicating the work that had been done thus far and the 6 estimates received for construction of this pavilion. Over the past 18 months, the Hewitt Farm Pavilion fundraised approximately $11,000 from a variety of sources and special events. We are continuing to have donations come forth.

There are two issues I wish to provide clarity on regarding the pavilion which has now been constructed…

Building permits were obtained for the work on this pavilion as they are on all projects in town
• The town was aware that work still needed to be completed such as collar ties being installed. We anticipate all work that needs to be completed to satisfy building code to be done this upcoming week.
• The building is being warrantied and is of solid construction

Though we did not go out to competitively bid this project there were several reasons as to why…
• We have still been raising money up until this very day and were not certain how much if any town funds would be requested or required to build it.
• Since recreation chose prudently not to act until towards the end of the fiscal year, we needed to move quickly in order to get this project done before the year-end because our board of selectmen created a policy whereby we cannot encumber funds beyond the end of fiscal year end. This means if the project was to be done this fiscal year, it must be completed prior to June 30th, 2019.
• Given the 6 quotes received and vetted, we felt comfortable that we received the best price
• There is no ordinance in the town concerning public bidding though we do in nearly all circumstances work within the town policy on public bidding

This was a unique circumstance due to timing and the combined use of fundraising dollars and town monies. Ultimately we built a beautiful structure with the majority of the dollars coming from private contributions. I am incredibly proud of the committee and volunteers work to help this pavilion become a reality and look forward to the many events and activities that will take place there in the years to come 😊! Look out for a ribbon cutting celebration in the near future!

Mike Urgo
First Selectman

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