Harwich Selectmen Extend Cultural Center Program

HARWICH – The trial period for the Harwich Cultural Center has been extended for another five years by the Board of Selectmen.

The successful center, which has operated for one of its initial two-year trial period, rents 28 classroom studios to artists, along with other areas of the former middle school, including the auditorium, cafeteria, courtyard, art room and gymnasium.

Community Center Director Carolyn Carey said all of the classrooms are currently in use and the center is expected to generate just under $150,000 in revenue this year from all of its rentals including the other areas of the facility. She also is projecting that the center will operate at a deficit of $80,000 this year.

“I think we can move this ahead as part of a whole economic development activity, especially with some of the things that are going on with Saquatucket Harbor and tie it in the artist shacks for instance,” said Selectman Larry Ballantine.

Ballantine said he would also like to see an expanded use of the other areas of the former school, including the cafeteria.

Town Administrator Chris Clark says the extension of the trial period will allow the town to invest more in the center.

“We can put together more of a robust capital plan to keep going on this concept,” Clark said.

Ed McManus, the president of the Harwich Cranberry Festival, was happy the board took up the extension of the trial period at its recent meeting. The festival has held a few concerts at the cultural center and is planning a summer concert series in the courtyard.

“It’s opened up a series of grants we can apply for,” McManus said.

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