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Old Town House Renovations Shot Down

By a margin of 3,567 to 2,530, residents downed a proposed project to make the town's Old Town House universally accessible.

The only question voted down in Tuesday's Special Town Election was one that would have approved a project to make the town's Old Town House universally accessible.

The Old Town House, which dates back to before the American Revolution, is not currently handicapped accessible, which means it cannot be used for public meetings or as a polling location, as it had been for more than two centuries.

The Town House is currently “mothballed,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Jim Nye, because it is not accessible to all.

At Town Meeting last month, residents sat through a brief PowerPoint presentation detailing plans to make the 284-year-old building universally accessible and residents voted in favor of appropriating $667,793 for a project that would install a three-floor elevator and two handicapped accessible bathrooms by a margin of 571 to 45. 

At the meeting, proponents for the accessibility project argued that the cost to each Marblehead household would only be about $64 to fund the project and some shared stories of occasions when disabled town residents and visitors couldn't tour the building because they simply couldn't get up the stairs.

However, the majority of town voters Tuesday said no to the project.

Special Town Election results, Question 1, precinct-by-precinct:

Precinct P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 TOTAL Yes 476 269 255 365 413 439 313 2,530 No 426 449 399 551 525 576 641 3,567

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