The Bourne Community Preservation Act Committee on Monday followed through on its promise to take procedural steps marking termination of the town agreement with the Hoxie Center for the Arts, Science, Culture and Education.
The CPA panel remains concerned there is no Hoxie group progress to fulfill its obligations to convert the closed elementary schoolhouse at North Sagamore into a thriving community center. Plans were to generate a revenue stream from programs, studios, productions, workshops, and classes.
Some CPA members last month sought reassurance they were following all rules related to sending an ultimatum to the Hoxie group. CPA Chairman Barry Johnson provided the reassurance. So members set a June 1 deadline for Hoxie Center trustees to reply to a CPA letter of concern.
Johnson said last week no message-of-reply was received. He said Hoxie attorney Ford O’Connor consulted with Bourne Town Counsel Robert Troy about legal issues unfolding on the restoration front at Williston Road as they relate to insurance matters.
Selectmen on Tuesday were set to discuss the Hoxie issue in executive session. Troy said he would discuss Hoxie property deed and insurance issues with the board.
Hoxie restoration, once full of community promise and potential, fell into disarray two years ago when work vouchers were doctored prior to submittal for payment by town finance officials. That prompted police investigation and significantly more CPA scrutiny on Hoxie funds, vouchers and work oversight.
Since then, there has been little redevelopment progress, and O’Connor said raising funds privately became impossible after the police probe.
So a signature Hoxie makeover remains a difficult and purposeful but unfinished project at best. The white-trimmed shingled building of another era remains unoccupied. An array of cultural expectations is unfulfilled.
Town Administrator Thomas Guerino said a Lloyds of London representative will tour Hoxie June 7 to sort out insurance issues if the town ultimately regains Hoxie control.
Guerino wanted to know if future insurance costs could be paid from CPA funds authorized by Town Meeting voters for other Hoxie projects. Troy said he could not yet answer that question. Johnson said he likely would have to convene another CPA meeting to discuss that issue. Funds recently allocated have not been spent.
The CPA panel, meanwhile, voted 9-0 to terminate the Hoxie grant due to failure to provide the town with periodic reports and also due to a building insurance lapse. Members also voted to advise selectmen they should exercise the Hoxie grant’s reverter clause in the property’s deed.
O’Connor said the Hoxie group “went to all sources and entities for funds.”
“It’s been difficult to raise revenue,” he said. “People are discouraged to serve. It just hasn’t worked.”
Troy said it is time to legally “look forward” on Hoxie.
“We’re concerned about the town having a good usable title to the property as to what the town may want to do with it,” he said. “The goal is to get the title insurance for the town and start over with a clean slate.”