I urge that the commitment of ANY funding to a Museum on the first (middle) floor of Old Town Hall be deferred until an integrated plan, addressing the future of both the Historical Society and/or a Museum, and Bedford TV, has been created, aired, and approved.
A recent Letter to the Editor addressed the potential relocation of the Bedford Historical Society from the Stearns Building to the Old Town Hall (OTH). This letter provides some additional information and perspective on this subject.
The Old Town Hall would be a good location for the Historical Society and potentially a Town Museum, should the Town, via the Select Board and Town Meeting, decide to move forward with such a project.
The Old Town Hall would ALSO be a good location for a Local Access Television Station. How do we know? We have one!
Bedford TV currently occupies the entire first (middle) floor in the Old Town Hall. This includes studio space, office space, training space, storage space, and all the equipment to create and bring Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) programming to the Town via cable TV and the Internet, all created at considerable expense to the Town.
A decision to create a Museum and/or space for the Historical Society on the first (middle) floor cannot be made without a decision to relocate Bedford TV to some other suitable location in Town, and a commitment of the significant funding required to create the necessary facilities, similar to those which already exist in Old Town Hall.
An integrated plan, addressing all the moving parts and associated costs, has not to date been presented or approved. Another consultant is currently working on a “total package”, but her report has not yet been completed.
Until this information is available it seems premature to go forward with planning for the Historical Society and/or a Museum to occupy any space on the first floor of Old Town Hall.
There has been some discussion of “shared-use” of some space, but since the space is currently fully occupied and utilized by Bedford TV this doesn’t seem to be a feasible option.
Funding has already been approved to renovate the ground (bottom) floor of Old Town Hall for use by the Historical Society. This will help address some of the Society’s immediate need for space and facilities and is perhaps a reasonable step to take while developing a plan for the first (middle) floor, and potentially other locations, to address the needs of both the Historical Society and Bedford TV.