GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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February 18, 2013

Councilors wary of Y talk on Fuller

Members wary of talks with YMCA

City councilors, wary of both the Fuller school building’s current state and its future, are calling for an official report from the mayor on the building’s destiny.

A City Council discussion of the city having lacked a full emergency shelter during the past weekend’s blizzard led one councilor, Bruce Tobey, to question just what is going on and will go on at the Fuller building, which had served as the city’s usual location for an emergency shelter. City Councilor Greg Verga agreed and made an official request for a formal report from Mayor Carolyn Kirk.

The city took over responsibility for the Fuller building in January, when the School Committee declared the structure surplus property, and since then, speculation has swirled around the city possibly looking to cut a deal and sell the building to the Cape Ann Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

”It’s only fair that, if there are these conversations going on with a nonprofit entity, that the public should know about it and at least the council should know about it,” Verga said in an interview Friday.

City councilors had voted in December to put the Fuller building’s potential fate on a non-binding referendum question on the next ballot coming in November. Now, councilors want to know if there have been talks between the mayor’s office and the YMCA that could subvert the referendum, or any of the other options, which have included use as public safety building, or as a revitalized and perhaps consolidated school facility.

If there have been talks, Verga asked, “Then why are we wasting time on another option when one winner has already been chosen to be the recipient?”

The ballot question that city councilors approved, with only councilor Joe Ciolino opposing, was first vetoed by the mayor before councilors overrode that veto.

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