In September 2013, Mayor Joe Sullivan with the support of the Braintree Town Council enthusiastically endorsed a plan for renovating a long-vacant town property so that it could be used as a venue to support a new community art center. An allocation of $230,000 from the town’s community preservation fund was put forth to cover the costs of the rehabilitation of the 1,275 sq. ft. two story structure, which sits prominently on Washington Street ( Route 37) adjacent to the new Highlands Playground.
Town officials partnered with students from the Blue Hills Regional Vocational School to perform renovations at the 100-year-old home. Under the supervision of Braintree Public Works director Tom Whalen, the carpentry students were lead by their teacher Richard McDonough in creating classrooms, bathrooms, and a new roof. Expanded parking, with exterior disability access, and an internal “lift” making the building completely handicapped accessible was completed by town employees, most notably Tom Whalen, Justin Zarn, Bob Laing, and hired contractors.
With the support of the Town to open the center in Spring 2015, organizers of this effort have been encouraged to discover alternative funding sources to help support the operations of the center and to seek “in-kind” contributions for items such as chairs, tables, appliances, and any other items that would be valuable to the Center. Additionally, the BCAC development committee is recruiting volunteers and soliciting feedback about the types of programs residents would like to see at the center.
The goal of the committee of volunteers is to create a vibrant community center giving purpose for this recreational facility as a centerpiece to the promotion and advancement of the arts for Braintree.