GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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August 15, 2013

Rockport tightens rules, eyes manager for Community House

ROCKPORT — Town officials have solidified new Community House rules and regulations and are looking for a new property manager for the building after some patrons complained that the property doesn’t always get a thorough cleaning after its been used.

The Broadway property lives up to its name; the Community House serves as the town’s Senior Center, hosts events for the Sandy Bay Historical Society, and is regularly home to art classes, yoga classes and numerous other functions.

But Board of Selectmen have since crafted rules outlining the fee structure during recent meetings. The rental areas now have fees ranging from $50 to $200 for a four-hour period depending on the nature of the event and the person or group renting it.

In addition, because some patrons leave rental areas unclean and damaged, the town is now requiring a credit card — like a hotel or inn — should a room need cleaning or repairs.

The rental spaces available include two second-floor rooms; one can hold up to 209 people and the other just under 250. Those are in addition to the first floor kitchen.

Diane Bertolino, Director of the Senior Center, said the property is sometimes left dirty and damaged, but she declined to specify on what specific areas have been affected, or in what way.

She said the seniors are probably the most frequent users, and added that having a facility manager would be a good idea.

Officials emphasized that the Community House needs to be preserved.

“The board feels strongly that residents be able to use and enjoy this building,” Erin Battistelli, who chairs the Board of Selectmen, wrote in an email to the Times. “And, because community preservation funds were already spent to renovate it, we want to keep it affordable for residents.

“However,” she added, “it is a special town asset that we need to protect and maintain and the board wants to ensure that there is adequate follow up after the rentals on the weekends and evenings to confirm the building is cleaned and secure.

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