Public Meeting – Exeter Town Hall Use

I just returned from attending the public input session on the potential use of Exeter Town Hall. I have to say, I was disappointed in the turnout. I’m curious, were you aware of the issue? Did you know there was a meeting? Have you heard about the possibility of Exeter Town Hall being leased to a production company for five years?
What are you thoughts about this proposal?

If you aren’t in the loop but would like to get caught up on the issue, you could read the articles in the Exeter News Letter and Seacoastonline. There was also a brief presentation at last week’s Selectmen’s Meeting that you can watch on Town Hall Streams.

I welcome your comments.


The video of the 9/22/16 input session is now also available on the Town’s website.

13 thoughts on “Public Meeting – Exeter Town Hall Use

  1. I don’t live in Exeter, as you know, but if I had known about this I would have attended… this is a beautiful facility, and I would love to see it preserved as it currently is. We have a great Town Hall in Kensington, but unfortunately the state was removed several years ago and that was such an integral part of the Town Hall it upset me greatly, but it wasn’t put up for a vote…… it was just done.

  2. Just curious. Has the Historic District Commission weighed in on this? It would be as dramatic change in the ‘character’ of the building if its keys were turned over to a non-Exeter entity.

  3. I was at the Board of Selectmen meeting, and the open meeting of concerned citizens on Tuesday night. I did hear of the business-only meeting a week or so ago, and the presentation last night, but I was unable to attend. BUT, the only reason I heard about those meetings was through concerned citizens, not through the town, which is shady in itself.

    I don’t like anything about this proposal, from the secrecy surrounding it, to how it was presented at the Selectmen meeting, to how we’re not voting on something that will affect all of us in town, to the false claims about the amount of money it will bring into other town businesses, to the biggest issue: the loss of a public space in town to a private company.

    This is OUR town hall, our community space. It should not be controlled by a private company.

  4. Please encourage people to watch the stream of the Selectmen meeting, so they can draw their own conclusions from everyone that was allowed to speak, but not the SMG articles … They are very simplified in detail and have a biased tone toward the presenters of this initial proposal.

  5. The fact that we have come this far without the appropriate channels being used to open this up for public comment speaks volumes to who is running the town. For the Town Manager and the Selectboard to sit back and let these discussions take place without posting meetings and making this a true “public meeting” speaks to the lack of transparency in our town government. Kudos go out to Don Clement and Anne Surman, the only Selectmen, that spoke from their heart last night. The fact that the people’s hall is now the center of the thought process of our economic development director and the Chamber with no input from our arts community is just a shame.

  6. I have dish tv so I don’t know when the meetings are so I wouldn’t know when to be at a meeting. Maybe put a sign out like they do for elections if they really want the citizens opinion. I vote no.

  7. Will this be voted on? This is the first I am “hearing” about it, on FB! The Exeter town hall is historic and should not be leased out to a production company or anyone from out of town, unless it was for a short term. (Say a movie, but NOT for 5 years, and definitely nothing that would change the exterior!)

    1. Hi Michelle, It is my understanding this proposal does not have to go to town vote. It is also my understanding the Selectmen have the authority to enter into a lease.

  8. FYI, when I clicked on the Town Hall Streams link, and then on the meeting in question, the response from the stream was “oops, that video is not available.”

    1. Claire, the linked worked for us this morning. The 9/12/16 Selectmen’s meeting and the 9/22/16 input session are now both available.

  9. I was at first meeting run by the chamber (which I heard about thru FB friend), attended selectmens meeting last Monday (even though Exeter newsletter said this issue was NOT being heard) was going to attend this weeks meeting, but when looking for info, I could not find it anywhere. This lack of available information about a public building raises huge concerns! I am all for the arts, but this is NOT the space to be taken from residents by a private entity – non profit or not! The math they have proposed does not work. The production company should be able to USE the town hall, just follow the rules like everyone else and go thru the request/approval process like everyone else. But giving control over will NOT keep it OUR town hall.

  10. Here is another instance of a local community giving up its town hall for its use as a cultural arts center:

    Why can’t we find a way to do something similar? I did a simple Google search and I’m finding that this is quite common in older towns with these large, beautiful town hall buildings that sit empty for the majority of the year. These towns haven’t given up the use of their town hall as all of the civic events are still on the calendar and they take precedent over any other events.

    I’m not saying that I agree with the current plan, but I do think that we should continue to work together to find a plan that would benefit the majority of Exeter Residents.

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