RICHMOND — Faced with an aging, deteriorating Town Hall, a reactivated committee of officials and residents is proposing a nearly $6.6 million project to create a modern community center, including municipal offices and a library.

It would be built on town-owned property north of the Richmond Consolidated School on Route 41 (State Road). If approved by voters, the cost to taxpayers with an average-priced home would amount to less than 50 cents a day for a 30-year bond, the primary funding source for the project.

“The 100-year-old Town Hall is in very bad shape, and it’s not getting any better,” said Pat Callahan, chairwoman of the Municipal Building Committee, during a virtual briefing for residents Saturday. It was the first in a series of six Zoom meetings to acquaint residents with the project.

Callahan listed ventilation, mold, septic, accessibility and parking problems, noting an estimate of $2.8 million to bring Town Hall up to code. The current, diminutive town library in a former truck garage on State Road near the West Stockbridge line is the only one in the state housed in a rented space.

If approved by town meeting voters in May with the required two-thirds majority, the new energy-efficient building would house town offices, a spacious library and a multipurpose community meeting room.

Since the new building would connect to the school via footpaths, Callahan pointed out that “it would create a center for the social and cultural life of this town that we’ve really never had. Now is the time, and the need for this is really critical.”

“The question always becomes, ‘What is this project going to cost?’ ” said Selectman Roger Manzolini, a Building Committee member. He described the design as “simple and elegant.”

He presented a detailed budget that includes $5,355,000 for general construction, the lion’s share of the total cost, as well as $455,000 for designer services and $200,000 for project management.

Manzolini described the various fees as necessary expenses “to properly execute a project of this size. Those costs fall well within the recognized standards for public construction projects in Massachusetts.”

There also is a $300,000 “construction contingency” budget line to support the project.

An additional $200,000 covers furniture, fixtures, equipment and shelving.

“It was once described to me as, if you were to take the building’s roof off and tip it upside down, FF&E is everything that falls out,” Manzolini said.

To finance the total $6,585,000 cost, voters will be asked to approve a 30-year, $6,385,000 bond at a 2.41 percent interest rate.

Annual debt service, paying down the principal and interest, would cost the town $308,000. But, Manzolini pointed out that the yearly payment of $150,000 for the school expires in the current 2021 fiscal year. That means that for an approved project, taxpayers would be covering $158,000 in yearly debt service.

As a result, the tax impact for the owner of an average $406,000 single-family home would be $150 a year. For the owner of a median-priced property worth $352,000, it would be $130. There are 746 single-family homes in Richmond, Manzolini said. The cost per $100,000 of property valuation comes to $37 a year.

In addition to the bond, a community fundraising effort should yield $120,000, he estimated, along with $80,000 in held-over library building money from previous fundraising and gifts to the library.

After the fifth and final monthly communication session for residents in April, the annual town meeting in May would vote on whether to approve the funding plan.

Future Zoom informational sessions will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 11, Feb. 2, Feb 17 and March 11; and at 10 a.m. Jan. 23. Details to access the sessions will be in the town’s weekly electronic newsletter, and it was included in a recent letter mailed to every home.

A favorable town meeting vote would lead to the completion of design documents next August, according to Manzolini, and the project would go out to bid. Construction could start next October, with the building ready for occupancy in late 2022.

The plan would yield a town center with a community atmosphere aligned with Richmond’s needs and values, he declared.

“A lot of people often ask, ‘Where is Richmond?’ “ Manzolini stated. “Right now, the answer generally is, it’s the post office near the railroad tracks. It would be nice to say that we have a town center on State Road.”

“The plans are not extravagant, but flexible enough to meet our needs for the foreseeable future,” he added. “The time is now, interest rates are at a historic low, our current buildings are declining every day and, certainly, this will not be any easier in future years.”

Callahan pointed out that “COVID has made it even more obvious that we need a healthier, better building for our staff to work in and for our citizens to visit.”

“We hate to throw more money at the 100-year-old Town Hall building,” said Kathryn Wilson, a building committee member and library trustee. “We really can’t invest in the library, because we don’t own the building.”

The new building’s multiple-use community meeting room would be “something we think could be a great addition to the town, a useful space and something people would enjoy meeting in,” Wilson commented.

The 4,000-square-foot library, with expanded hours, would double the space of the current facility, she said. It is modeled on libraries in other towns the size of Richmond.

“It’s got all the things we need, but we don’t think we’ve gone to excess,” Wilson said, adding that “libraries are changing; they’re not just a place where books are kept, they’re for information, community, internet access, courses for adults and kids.”

The proposed community center would be on land purchased by the town in 1995 north of the Richmond Consolidated School with an eye toward future needs. A year later, a community center, including a redeveloped school, library and Town Hall, was discussed, but except for the school, it failed to grain traction, Cal lahan explained.

In 2005, funding for a combined Town Hall and library fell four votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority by approval of town voters.

A new Building Committee was formed in 2017, but hopes were dashed for a state-funded library.

The committee’s next step was to design a town-funded municipal building. Completed last January, potential action at a spring or summer meeting was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the 11-member committee of residents, along with several library trustees, reignited the project.

Callahan credited Finance Committee Chairman Robert Gniadek for assistance.

The project manager is Dan Pallotta of P-Three Inc., based in Norwell. The design architect is Curtis Edgin of Caolo & Bieniek Associates in Chicopee.

Clarence Fanto can be reached

at, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.