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Danforth Museum To Purchase Maynard Building for $1.5 Million

Selectmen unanimously approved the deal Tuesday night. The final step is Town Meeting's approval in May.

Danforth Museum and School of Art has reached an agreement with the Town of Framingham to purchase the Jonathan Maynard Building for $1.5 million.

Selectmen unanimously approved the deal Tuesday night, 4-0 (Selectman Ginger Esty was not present).

The final step is Town Meeting's approval in May.

If Town Meeting approves, the Danforth Museum and School of Arts currently housed in the Danforth Building, which once was a high school, will move to the Maynard Building, which also once was a school.

If everything is approved, the Museum would move across from the Town Common and near Village Hall, Edgell Memorial Library and the Framingham History Center forming a cultural, historic district, which would be available for state and federal funding.

The plan would be for the Danforth to move into the first floor of the Maynard in the fall of 2014 and to fully occupy the building by the fall of 2016.

Negotiating the deal for the Town of Framingham was Town Manager Bob Halpin, Selectman Dennis Giombetti, Finance Committee member Betty Funk, Real Property Committee member Ned Price and Realtor Jim Gordon.

The deal calls for the Danforth Museum to pay the Town of Framingham $250,000 cash immediately and $750,000 over 20 years. The remaining $500,000 would be given to the town in in-kind services, like discounted memberships for Framingham residents.  

The Framingham Public Schools administration was once held in the Maynard Building, until a mol issue forced them elsewhere.

The mold issue was addressed. Currently, Framingham State University is using a floor for its Education Center.

TMM February 06, 2013 at 12:07 PM
How much has Framingham spent in improvements in the last two years on the Maynard Building? How much will the Town spend before transfer of property to Danforth Museum? What will become of the "white elephant" on Union Ave? With the move of the major cultural organization up north, it seems the present "cultural triangle" in Downtown will lose its designation. Believe me, I am in support of the Danforth Museum, but what cost to the ordinary taxpayers do we essentially give property away?
TMM February 06, 2013 at 01:37 PM
A year ago a news article was published about the Danforth Museum and Maynard building. The article mentions a proposal that involves the town helping complete $4.2 million in necessary building repairs. Has the town spent this money on improvements? The one million dollars the Museum agrees to pay over 20 years is a pittance what the Town has spent. Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x739237511/Danforth-Museum-eyes-Maynard-Building#ixzz2K7phQvue
Geraldine February 06, 2013 at 01:48 PM
$1 million for that building seems like a bargain. I love the Museum, but that is a great deal for them. And is that $500,000 in in-kind donations, like membership discounts for Framingham residents over 20 years too - that's not a lot. What is the assessed value of the property? I thought I read that whom ever purchased the old elementary school would make the improvements to the building. Does the Danforth still plan to make the improvements? If yes, what is the cost? I hope Town Meeting asks all these questions before they vote.
Jessica W. February 06, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Love, Love, Love the idea of a cultural center around the common. I hate going donwtown. Too much crime, too many people who don't speak English. Guess, the Museum felt the same way.
Vincent D. February 06, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Wasn't it the state and the town's idea to revitalize downtown? Why wouldn't the museum want to be a part of this new revitalization process to encourage more people to visit downtown. It is because they are too snobby! Couldn't they have spent $1 million to rehab where they are and just stay downtown? They want to abandon downtown just like everyone else. Just you wait the Danforth will become another Brazilian cultural center just like the old church across the street and St. T's School.
Daphne February 06, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Fabulous move! Great for the Museum! Great for the community! Love the family programs on the first Sunday - would love to see it every Sunday to encourage more to attend the museum!!
eleanor February 06, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Wonderful news for the museum. I think it is a great location for them! But as a taxpayer, I'm not sure the town is getting a great deal. $1M seems too little and what is the plan for the Danforth building? We just put more than $1M in repairs into the Maynard and how much will it cost the town to fix the Danforth?
barb February 06, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Yay!!! Much better location and physical facility!!
Jack February 07, 2013 at 03:31 AM
I'd like to know if Town Meeting members have this many questions about the deal? Can Town Meeting ask the Town to re-negotiate a better deal? $1M does seem like a little. What is the assessed value? How much is Framingham State Paying just to rent a floor now?
Diane Tiger February 08, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Maybe they can turn the Danforth building back into a school. We could use another one on this side of town. I'm continuously amazed at how many former school buildings there are. Anyone able to provide some history on this?
TMM February 08, 2013 at 07:40 PM
The cost to bring the current Danforth Museum building up to code is enormous. I would be opposed to the Town spending several million dollars and then "give away" the building to a non-profit. More money being spent and ever-increasing property taxes burdening the ordinary taxpayer. Perhaps the building can be sold and converted into co-operative studio/housing for legitimate artists. It would put the building on the tax roles. It has been done numerous times all over Greater Boston with great success. It would solve the artist's problem of affordable housing and studio space. Boston has several cooperatives including the Artist Building on Summer Street, Boston. See link: http://www.300summer.org/The_Artist_Building_at_300_Summer_Street/Home.html and the 249 S Street Cooperative: http://249astreet.com/index.html
kylon February 20, 2013 at 06:38 PM
That's a thought moving forward George Lewis. Living/work spaces, Great idea to bring out the wonderful artist community that exist here in Framingham.

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