MOULTONBOROUGH — Competing proposals to build a community center failed to gain approval Monday evening at a Town Meeting marked by precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Moderator Paul Punturieri said the 503 residents who checked in for the meeting went to five different locations within Moultonborough Academy to ensure proper social distancing. An internal Zoom meeting was arranged.
“It took a little time to get the technology worked out, but in these conditions, we did really well,” he said.
Four previously scheduled dates to hold the meeting were postponed.
Town Administrator Walter Johnson said the five-hour meeting went relatively smoothly.
“Oh, it’s a great relief to have it over and done with and know we can move forward,” he said. “Just having an approved budget is a big relief.”
A two-thirds vote was required for passage of the community center bond proposals, and neither measure reached that threshold.
One of those measures, Article 6, a $6.72 million project, received a vote of 253 in favor and 237 against. That proposal called for the center to be built on school district property and the adjacent town-owned Adele Taylor property.
The other measure, Article 5, received a vote of 158 in favor and 153 against. It called for building a $3 million community center on the town-owned former Lions Club on old Route 109.
Residents approved an $8.2 million budget for the town.
An article to appropriate $75,000 to raze the Adele Taylor home was tabled.
The house at 970 Whittier Highway includes 5 acres of land.
It is a broad-gabled Greek Revival dwelling building constructed about 1840. James E. French, who resided at the property from 1871 until his death in 1919, was a prosperous business owner and public official.
A few years after his death, the house was sold to Adele Blanchard, and the property passed through the women of that family to its last occupant, Adele Taylor, who was the town’s longest-serving librarian.
The vacant house was purchased by the town in 2014.