Saved from sale and possibly the wrecking ball, Buttonwoods Community Center will open soon as a home for most of the city offices forced out of the City Hall Annex in January 2018 when a water pipe burst.
Yesterday, Mayor Joseph J. Solomon said the fire marshal approved occupancy of the building on Tuesday and that most of the city offices now in the former Greene School on Draper Avenue would be relocated to Buttonwoods this month. He expects at the very least that the tax collector’s office will be operational by the time the first quarter tax payment is due on July 15.
“That’s my plan … I am moving so fast that I can’t even tell my staff,” he said.
Former Mayor Scott Avedisian closed the center, relocating senior programs held at former school to the Pilgrim Senior Center and not renewing the lease of Westbay Community Action, which had used it for program offices.
Avedisian’s reason for closing the center was a projected cost of more than $500,000 to fix the roof and address other problems. He proposed selling the building as excess property, but with the displacement of senior card clubs and loss of a community center, Ward 7 Councilman Steve McAllister looked to save it. The council agreed, but it wasn’t until Solomon was mayor that the effort was made to save it.
At no cost, Furey Roofing Co. of Warwick took on the job of replacing flat roofs while Department of Public Works crews made interior renovations. All but the city personnel office is projected to be at Buttonwoods.
As for the Annex, Solomon said he has still not reached a settlement with the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust on an insurance claim.