By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Select Board members voted Jan. 5, to back a fresh step in a local nonprofit’s effort to buy the downtown armory for use as a performing arts center.
Split along a 4-1 vote, the Board endorsed a grant application by the Hudson Cultural Alliance after brief confusion over whether the Alliance plans to seek taxpayer funding for their purchase.
“I do not support using town money for this,” Board Member Scott Duplisea said before the vote. “…[But] I’m hoping that they can do this. I’m hoping that it becomes a reality.”
The Alliance wants to raise $230,000 to buy and refurbish the Armory as a new venue for local organizations like the River’s Edge Arts Alliance.
Though the Select Board and Town Meeting have both green-lit the Alliance to move forward, that approval hinges on the Alliance’s ability to foot their bill without using taxpayer money.
On Jan. 5, as Select Board members considered a letter of support for a grant that would pay that entire $230,000 bill, if won, they reviewed the Alliance’s actual grant application and criticized a past application for Community Preservation Act funds.
“I don’t know how these funds could be considered anything other than taxpayer/town funds,” Select Board Member John Parent told Alliance representatives.
CPA funds are raised primarily through a surcharge on resident’s tax bills. They’re typically used to pay for everything from affordable housing projects, to, in some cases, arts initiatives.
In this case, though, they’re off limits to the Alliance.
“We had a difference of opinion but, in reviewing that, you’re correct,” Tom Desmond of the Cultural Alliance told the Select Board. “We’re going to move forward with this strictly on grants and private donations.”
Learn more about the Cultural Alliance’s fundraising effort here.
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