By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM, N.H. — There could soon be a new tenant at Town Hall.
The Greater Salem Caregivers expect to move into space formerly occupied by the state Division of Motor Vehicles. The DMV, needing more space, relocated its office to Main Street in June after more than three decades at Town Hall.
Selectmen will review a proposed agreement with Caregivers at their meeting tonight. The nonprofit group is vacating its office at the former Mary Foss School on Lawrence Road after town officials decided it was too costly to continue maintaining the nearly century-old building.
Although terms of the agreement were not available Friday, Caregivers executive director Richard O’Shaughnessy called it a “win-win for everyone.”
The 23-year-old nonprofit organization has been at the former school for at least a decade, O’Shaughnessy said. The dilapidated building needs thousands of dollars in upgrades, especially to its roof and heating systems, according to town officials.
Town Manager Keith Hickey has said it costs about $25,000 a year to maintain Mary Foss. He was not available for comment Friday.
Caregivers and its many volunteers help homebound local residents, especially the elderly, maintain their independence. The organization assists those who need someone to check on them, get them to medical appointments or require help with grocery shopping.
“We will be looking to move in as soon as possible,” O’Shaughnessy said.
Minor renovations are needed at the new site before the move occurs, he said. The timetable was not available.
He referred all questions about the proposed agreement to Hickey. O’Shaughnessy said the town has allowed Caregivers to use the Mary Foss School at no charge.
But Caregivers may be asked to pay rent under the new deal.
The town’s human services department recently moved from the former school to Town Hall, Selectmen’s Chairman Patrick Hargreaves said.
Rockingham Community Action Program and the Rockingham County ServiceLink program are still at Mary Foss. Those two programs, too, are expected to move out before long.