A project that will transform a long-vacant house in the Highlands into a Family Art and Recreation Center is scheduled to be completed this fall.
The house, on land formerly occupied by Norfolk County Hospital and purchased by the Town of Braintree in 2007, will host painting, pottery, gardening and other classes. It is under construction now by Blue Hills Regional Technical School students and will be overseen by the Recreation Division.
"This recreational facility will rejuvenate a moth-balled structure and offer a complementary use to the adjacent playground," Mayor Joseph Sullivan wrote in a letter to the Community Preservation Committee earlier this year.
The committee recommended the appropriation of Community Preservation Act money for the project, at 1969 Washington St.
On Tuesday, the Town Council unanimously voted to use $230,000 in CPA funds to pay for materials that Blue Hills is using and for outside contractors to do plumbing, electrical and other work.
An additional $7,875 fee paid to Blue Hills for maintenance and repair of tools and equipment was paid separately by the town. Future needs, such as furniture and art supplies, were not incorporated into the CPA appropriation and may come from donations from local businesses, according to the project application.
Programming and activities will likely be run by a committee or group of volunteers to be appointed by the mayor. They will coordinate with the Recreation Division.
Hours of operation and other details will be worked out ahead of the center's opening. DPW Director Tom Whalen said that 90 percent of the renovation should be complete by Thanksgiving.
"This is going to be a value asset to the town," Councilor Tom Bowes said.
The 1,275-square-foot arts center will "bring a lot of engagement to the residents of Braintree" and will complement the Highlands Playground well, Councilor Charles Ryan said.
Braintree passed the Community Preservation Act in 2002. It is a statewide law that allows cities and towns to put aside 1 percent of property taxes to fund open space, historic, affordable housing and some limited recreational initiatives. Volunteers appointed by the mayor and the town council make up the nine-member committee.