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Community Center Study Committee

Community Center Study Committee Report, February 2015

Click here for Board of Selectmen Cover Letter
Click here for Community Center Study Committee Report
Click here for Schematic Drawings (added June 2015)

State of the Town

The 13th annual State of the Town Meeting was held on Saturday, November 15, 2014 at the Donaldson Auditorium at the Brooks School. It was a great success, drawing in the vicinity of 350 residents. There were presentations by the CCSC and the School Building Advisory Committee, followed by discussion.

Carolyn Bottum, Council on Aging Director, and Dan Pereira, Parks and Recreation Director, presented a slide show reflecting the current conditions of their facilities and the programs they support. Nancy Marshall, CCSC Member, discussed what good community centers have to offer, and gave examples from some of our neighboring towns. 

Following this, David Pollak of Abacus Architect and Planners, presented an overview of the five potential sites, with possible design ideas and associated costs.

After listening, residents placed stickers indicating which site they preferred; see the pictures below.

Thank you to all who took the time to be part of the process! 

In case you were unable to attend and want to see what you missed, you can watch the video


Town-Wide Charrette

On Wednesday, October 8, from 6 to 9 PM the CCSC held a town-wide planning charrette. It was well attended, with over 120 residents actively participating.

Information gleaned from the workshop on October 8 will be used by the CCSC as we work with the Selectmen to present the most viable options and elicit discussion at the 2014 State of the Town Meeting on November 15. 

For those who were unable to attend, we would appreciate it if you fill in our online survey. For those who filled in paper surveys, at the charrette or any other public events, your information has been entered into our survey results.

The charrette presentations were recorded. Click here to see the video of the evening charrette.

Presentation at Bemis Hall

On Friday, October 17, the CCSC presented at Bemis Hall, at an Open House. You can see the video of the presentation here.

  Charrette  Charrette

Committee's Charge from the Board of Selectmen

The CCSC was formed by the Lincoln Board of Selectmen to assist the BOS in evaluating the options for addressing the long and short term facilities needs of The Council on Aging, the Parks and Recreation Department, and a number of smaller community organizations that currently utilize Bemis Hall, the Hartwell PODS and other facilities for programming and/or storage.  To read the CCSC’s full charge, click here

Why a Community Center? Why Now?

Community Center Study Committee Membership

  Member Affiliation Note
1 Penny Billings
2 Renel Fredriksen Board of Selectmen
3 Dilla Tingley
Council on Aging

4 Doug Carson
Parks & Recreation Committee
5 Steve Gladstone
At Large Member  
6 Nancy Marshall
At Large Member  
7 Tim Higgins Town Administrator Non Voting
8 Carolyn Bottum Council on Aging Director Non Voting
9 Dan Pereira Parks & Recreation Director Non Voting


At its July 14 meeting, the Board of Selectmen awarded the consulting grant to Abacus Architects and Planners. Their proposal to the Board is available here.

Press Release

September 8, 2014, Fall Update

July 25, 2014 Mid-summer Update

Meeting and Event Schedule

Friday, January 23 @ 8:30 a.m. – Town Offices
Friday, January 30 @ 8:30 a.m. – Town Offices
Wednesday, February 4 @ 8:30 a.m. – Town Offices

Agenda and Meeting Minutes


Related Documents

Click here to view the Project Timetable 2014-2015
Click here to view the March 29, 2014 Town Meeting Presentation
Click here to view the video of the November 2013 State of the Town discussion - Community Center
Click here to view the State of the Town Presentation - November 2013
Click here for Community Center Feasibility Report - 2012
Click here to view the Community Center Feasibility Committee presentation to Town Meeting - March 2012
Click here to view Building Needs Update-Bemis Hall and Town Offices (February 2008)
Click here to view the Town of Lincoln Building Needs Assessment-2006

Why a Community Center? Why Now?


A “Community Center” is a public facility that provides social, leisure, cultural, and health programs and services for everyone in the community, regardless of age, under one roof. Where community centers exist, they typically have multi-purpose spaces: floor plans that can double as a senior center and a recreation center, spaces that can host an art class, a lecture, a performance, a reception. Sometimes community centers accommodate other users, too, e.g., health departments, child and family services, after-school programs, early childhood education programs, a local food pantry, and community organizations.

In May 2011, the Board of Selectmen appointed a six-member Community Center Feasibility Committee to evaluate the programmatic and space needs of the Council on Aging (COA) and Parks and Recreation Department (PRD). Their report was presented to the Town in 2012. The information below  includes excerpts from this report.  The full report is available here. Following on that comprehensive report, the Selectmen appointed a new Community Center Study Committee in May, with the goal of offering a series of options to the Town in the fall and at Town Meeting in 2015.

The CCSC was formed by the Lincoln Board of Selectmen to assist the BOS in evaluating the options for addressing the long and short term facilities needs of The Council on Aging, the Parks and Recreation Department and a number of smaller community organizations that currently utilize Bemis Hall, the Hartwell PODS and other facilities for programming and/or storage. 

The COA needs enough safe, appropriately configured space to serve the growing senior population in Lincoln. Public safety and civil rights challenges at Bemis Hall, the historic building that currently houses the senior center, make it very difficult to meet these needs. It lacks the floor area and space configurations a senior center needs, the building is not fully accessible to people with disabilities, the site is not conducive to outdoor activities, and there is not enough safely located parking to serve the senior center’s patrons. 

The PRD has administrative offices and program space at the Hartwell Pods on Ballfield Road. Ballfield Road is a great place for community recreation programs, but PRD is a tenant at will and the Hartwell Pods need attention. When built in 1959 and 1963, the Hartwell Pods were intended to be temporary facilities.  The Pods have served Lincoln well beyond their expected lifetime. Though generally well maintained by the School Department, the Pods have code violations, architectural access barriers, roof deterioration, and general “wear-and-tear” problems that have already been documented in other studies. 

To serve Lincoln’s present and 10-year future senior population, the PRD needs approximately 14,600 sq. ft, while the COA needs about 9,700 sq. ft. of gross floor area.

In a co-located facility, the PRD and COA would need approximately 19,300 sq. ft. instead of the 24,300 sq. ft. they would need in separate locations. This reduction is achieved by the COA and PRD sharing an auditorium, multi-purpose room, and other spaces.

The 2012 report encouraged the Town to continue a public discussion of the needs of the COA and PRD, and the program opportunities a community center could offer. The 2013 State of the Town discussion, and the vote to approve this study at the 2014 Town Meeting are direct results of that recommendation, as is the creation and charge of the Community Center Study Committee by the Lincoln Board of Selectmen.

The current Community Center Study Committee is now in the process of holding public meetings, is engaging in outreach to the entire Lincoln community, and will host a charrette planning session for the town’s residents in the fall.  It is the Committee’s goal to have this completed in time for a presentation at the upcoming State of the Town Meeting on November 15.  

Organizations that Use Bemis or Pods

Agricultural Commission
Bemis Lectures
Birches School
Carroll School
Codman Community Farm
Codman Estate
Council on Aging
De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park
Farrar Pond Village Association
First Parish Church
Food Project
Friends of Modern Architecture
Green Energy Committee
Green Tech Committee
LEAP Lincoln Extended Activities Program
Lincoln Boy Scouts
Lincoln Country Day School
Lincoln Democratic Committee
Lincoln Family Association
Lincoln Foundation
Lincoln Garden Club
Lincoln Girl Scouts
Lincoln Historical Society
Lincoln Minute Men
Lincoln Nursery School
Lincoln PTO
Lincoln Republican Committee
Lincoln Ridge Association
Lincoln School Foundation
Lincoln Youth Baseball
Lincoln Youth Soccer
Lovelane Farm
Magic Garden Preschool
Mass Audobon
Minuteman Park Service
Minuteman Technical High School
Old Town Hall Exchange
Parks and Recreation (PRD)
Rural Land Foundation / Lincoln Land Conservation Trust
St. Anne's in the Fields
St. Julia's Parish
Valley Pond Board