NAPLES — The committee exploring the possibility of building a community center in town wants to tear down Town Hall and put a 19,000-square-foot community center in its place.

We’ve looked at other properties the town owns,” said Chairman Robert Caron II. “We felt this is the best spot. It’s a nice location.”

Town Hall offices would be incorporated into the new building.

“The general consensus is that people still want the village green to be the hub of municipal services,” said Town Manager John Hawley. 

Naples is currently running out of space for its programming and has no capacity for storage.

“The food pantry here has truly outgrown the capacity that the town office has,” Hawley said. “They could do so much more if we had more space. Our office spaces have become very crowded. It’s kind of a scheduling circus for us.”

The new center may ease Naples’ growing pains and provide a community hub for residents to take advantage of.

According to Caron, who emphasized the project is still in the early stage, the community center will include office spaces for the Town Hall and Post Office, a kitchen, meeting rooms, locker rooms and a gym. The committee also plans to leave plenty of room in case the center needs to be expanded in future years.

Committee member Bob Nyberg said the committee does not want a center that is “big or outlandish” but “functional, practical, responsible to the needs of the community.”

“The biggest thing is to try to pinpoint exactly what we feel the community needs for a new community center,” Caron said. 

The Selectboard recently authorized the committee to work with civil engineering company Sebago Technics Inc. on a conceptual design for the building. Once the design is complete, the committee will have a better idea of what it will cost to build it.

Hawley said it has yet to be determined where the funds to build it will come from: “There is nothing carved in stone. We’re still in the exploration stage.”

The conceptual design will be presented to the public for feedback once it is finished.

“We’re trying to update the town so that it attracts more people and can provide more services,” Nyberg said. “We’re looking to do better by the citizens of the community.”

Comments are not available on this story.