PERU — Selectmen on Monday took a look at a petition signed by 79 residents and circulated by Bob Dolloff asking that an item be placed on the town meeting warrant that, if approved, would allow use of the former town office as a site for the Peru Historical Society. The town would also be required to pay for the building’s upkeep.
Dolloff, who is a former selectman and current president of the society, said he circulated the request as an individual and not as head of the historical society.
“I feel if you’ve got a group of people to care for the artifacts, the town should support it,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
The Peru Center building operated as a schoolhouse until the 1940s, then later became the site of the town office until two years ago.
Selectmen chairman Jim Pulsifer said the board will likely put something on the June 8 warrant, but he’s not sure what just yet.
He suggested that the historical society use the old Grange Hall, also located in Peru Center.
Dolloff said the Grange has already served its purpose and that the former town office would be easier to maintain.
Both the Grange building and the former town office may go on the market sometime in June.
The town is also grappling with a newer, larger building that it acquired from the former SAD 21 when a new school was built a couple of years ago.
Town officials hope to find a use for the former Peru Elementary School, located in West Peru. Right now, it is used as a community center of sorts, which is occasionally used for suppers and similar events.
Pulsifer learned following an inspection by a representative from the Office of the State Fire Marshal, that unless the entire building is used by one business, a sprinkler system and one-hour rated firewall must be installed. The estimated cost for these issues is between $40,000 and $60,000.
A daycare business has shown interest in using a portion of the building, but the town is not prepared to spend up to $60,000 to address the safety issues, Pulsifer said.
The town offices are now located in an addition to the former school that is not attached to the building.
The ad hoc committee charged with overseeing the former school will likely begin meeting within the next couple of weeks.