Town Employee Says Vinyl Siding of Post Office Would Include New Windows

CHESTER – The board of selectmen is still undecided about whether to paint the Ruth Ray building, which serves as the town post office, or to vinyl side it, members largely split between longevity and value and historical precedence.
The Ruth Ray building has a long history and once housed the Webster Brothers store, run by Ray’s father. The building on that site burned down on three different occasions but the latest incarnation came on the scene in 1884.

The town appropriated $47,000 at Town Meeting to paint the structure, but the process has stalled since those in charge of maintenance say they see a better deal for vinyl siding. According to town maintenance man Tony Amato, he’s received three quotes for vinyl siding, running from about $40,000 to $60,000. But he points out that the bids include 24 new windows and half-inch insulation for the entire building.
Selectman Rich LeBlanc has been pushing for vinyl siding, citing the longevity of the material and the ability for the town to potentially install windows and insulation all in one effort – and for about the same cost as paint. The building would not need much care for years compared to paint, he said.
Selectmen Jack Cannon and Steph Landau have been speaking out against vinyl, in favor of the more historical paint look. They concede that the building has gone untended for years but even with limited maintenance budgets in recent years, they say the town has done a good job catching up and taking care of its infrastructure.
Cannon and Landau have also pointed out that the money voters approved for the work was for painting, not siding.
The historical society membership has also indicated its discomfort with vinyl siding.
LeBlanc and Amato say the kind of vinyl they’re looking for was approved by the Windham historical society for use there.
At their Dec. 12 meeting, the board agreed to write up specifications for a Request for Proposals (RFP) for both paint and vinyl, but that process did not come up again at their Dec. 19 meeting.

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