Community Preservation Committee may need more money to build White Horse Beach bathroom

It’s been nearly five years since Town Meeting voted to buy a parcel of land across from the public entrance to White Horse Beach in order to build a bathroom on it.

Now, with the bathroom still not built, the Community Preservation Committee may return to Town Meeting in April to ask for more funds in order to complete the project.

When Town Meeting appropriated $355,000 of Community Preservation Act money for the project, $150,000 of that was set aside to build the structure. Of that, Town Manager Melissa Arrighi told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night, $118,000 remains.

The budget for the project was based on the idea that the CPC wanted to “do something original,” rather than install a prefabricated building, CPC Chairman Bill Keohan told selectmen. To that end, the CPC went around the traditional process and had the design for the building put up to a public vote. Manomet residents approved a design by local architect Bill Fornaciari at a public meeting.

This unorthodox approach caused a snag, Keohan said, because Fornaciari doesn’t carry a $1 million liability insurance policy required by the town. That would cost $15,000, almost double his fee for the project, Keohan explained. Fornaciari doesn’t typically do municipal projects, he added, so he was little use for such insurance.

The CPC tried and failed to find ways around the problem, including trying to enlist the help of the Plymouth South High School CAD program, but those efforts failed, Keohan said. Now, the CPC, after consulting with the town procurement department, will go through the standard design selection process. A selection board will be created and a new architect will be hired, he said. However, Fornaciari’s design may not be lost, he added. The intention is to show it to prospective architects as an example of what residents want.

While the CPC doesn’t want to ask for more money to finish the project, costs have risen Keohan said. “Our concern is that we build what we want to build,” he said. But, if not, they wil return to Town Meeting to fill the gap.

Keohan estimated construction on the bathroom could begin sometime in the next year. “In the meantime, we need a bathroom,” said Selectman Betty Cavacco who has advocated for installing a temporary bathroom on the location. Last summer, the town placed portable toilets, which Cavacco said where less than ideal. Arrighi estimated putting something better in would cost around $15,000, which would have to be added to the upcoming budget.

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