News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, April 10, 2014
Broken pipe floods Brooksville town hall as renovation begins

by Anne Berleant

Flooding from a broken pipe gasket at the town hall has thrown the library and its planned expansion into temporary disarray. The town offices and fire station have also suffered damage.

“Most of the [fire station] ceiling is torn out and some of the walls,” said Selectman Darrell Fowler. “We’re still drying everything out with dehumidifiers and fans.”

The firehouse, however, is still functional, and town offices are open.

“We’re just kind of crowded into one area because we lost the tax collectors room,” Fowler said.

An estimate of the cost to repair damages is not yet known. Selectmen are waiting to hear from insurance adjusters.

The pipe, located in the men’s restroom across from two rooms of the library, broke at some time after 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 29. Workers on the library renovation discovered flooding the following Monday.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said librarian Sylvia Tapley. “One of the [flooded] rooms had all the genealogical material but luckily it was raised off the floor and those things didn’t get wet.”

The library is closed until further notice and the Thursday Community Café, was moved to the Brooksville Community Center, but “hopefully” will return to the townhouse on April 17, said volunteer Audrey Peasley.

Water from the broken pipe poured through a library work room and a conference room shared with the town, hallways and one clerk’s office, before it “went down and did a lot more damage to the fire station,” Tapley said.

The two damaged rooms were to be the temporary library during the renovation process.

The building is owned and insured by the town, but the library holds separate insurance on its books and items.

“We were lucky as far as book damage. About 50 books had to be thrown away,” Tapley said. She estimated the damage at $1,300. The expansion itself is still planned to be finished in May.

Just last month, voters approved adding $19,000 to the municipal budget at town meeting to help shore up a wall at the fire department. The wall needed to be strengthened before the planned library expansion could be built on it.

“The timing wasn’t great,” Tapley said. “Everything is at a standstill.”