Lease with Cape Verdean Cultural Center Committee extended
The Cape Verdean Cultural Center Committee's lease with the town is still valid and can be extended, officials have determined.
The committee, which is working to build a cultural center at the site of the former Oak Grove School, has a 99-year lease on the 314 Onset Ave. property with the town.
Economic woes have prevented the committee from breaking ground on the project, and a stipulation in the lease -- approved by Town Meeting voters in 2009 -- stated that the center had to be built within 2.5 years.
Representatives from the committee approached the Selectmen in May, wondering if they still had a lease.
The allotted two-and-a-half years passed without construction beginning, but the committee was never notified that the lease had been terminated, leaving questions as to whether it could be extended, or if the committee would have to go through the procurement process again.
Town attorney Richard Bowen has determined that because the lease was not officially terminated, it does not need to be renewed. He also determined that the lease may be modified to include an extension.
"What I've done is just develop an amendment so we can track the evolution of the lease," Bowen told Selectmen and attorney Del DeMiranda, who is representing the Cape Verdean Cultural Center Committee.
Under the amended contract, the committee has ten years from the date the lease was amended to begin construction, and fifteen years to complete the project.
The vast majority of the Oak Grove School's students were Cape Verdean, and many elderly Cape Verdean people on the South Coast attended the school, making it an important piece of the community's history.