July 31--The old Town Hall in the center of downtown at 20 Main St., otherwise known as the Andover Town House, is being renovated both inside and out.
In front of the historic building, workers are replacing the concrete and brickwork that was heaving, causing people to trip and fall. The deteriorating handicapped ramp on the side of the building is also being replaced. Desmond Landscaping is overseeing the work at a cost of $312,500,
Inside, the great hall upstairs is being restored and repainted. Fox Painting is handling the $83,200 job.
Ed Ataide, deputy director of plant and facilities for the town, said the work is being paid for through the capital improvement budget, with the exterior work approved by Town Meeting last year and the interior work approved this year.
Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of August.
The Andover Town House was built in 1858 -- three years after Andover split from North Andover. Originally, the building housed municipal offices, a post office and a barbershop. More than 30 years ago, the town offices moved to Bartlet Street.
Several plans to raze the building were thwarted in the 1950s and 1960s and the structure was completely renovated in 1989.
Today, along with still housing a post office substation on the first floor, the building can be rented for special events. The second-floor function room -- named after longtime Town Moderator James Doherty -- can accommodate 150 people for a sit-down dinner or 200 people for a cocktail-style function, according to the town website. Community groups, including some organized through the Center at Punchard, also meet there.
(c)2014 the Andover Townsman (Andover, Mass.)
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