Repairing Marblehead's trademark Abbot Hall clock tower will cost $2.1 million — and it may take most of 2014 to fix the extensive damage caused by weather over the last 137 years, the Board of Selectmen were told at their meeting Wednesday night.
And it could cost much more if the state Architectural Access Board does not grant variances, as it did with the Old Town House, that would require the town to make Abbot Hall more handicapped accessible.
The news has town residents buzzing about the cost, the duty to protect the iconic building and ways to pay for it aside from an override.
"I'm sure there will be many people in the community who will be prepared to donate money to the repairs in exchange for being included in a brass plaque to mark the renovation," wrote Ben Young in a comment here on Marblehead Patch.
Several people wondered why there's so much differed maintenance on the tower.
"I'm happy to contribute but why haven't these repairs [been] done over the decades?"
There was plenty of discussion of the issue over at the All Marblehead Facebook page, including one commenter who wrote:
"One way or another it needs to be fixed, it's historic landmark. Ask the residents of Marblehead to each donate $25.00 towards the repairs but give everyone a clear explanation as to why the tower needs repair and why the cost is so HIGH."
So what are your thoughts now that the price tag has been made public? Share them in the comments section below.