Council continues legal services for Kendall Dean project

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The town will continue to pay for an attorney to work out issues with the contractor hired to renovate the former Kendall Dean School building, after Town Councilors allocated up to $15,000 in spending for the service at a special meeting this week.

The questions of how much the town will pay for attorney fees, and how much progress has been made in resolving legal issues surrounding the project, were a subject of debate at a council meeting last week. Attorney Christopher Whitney was hired in August to address disputes with contractor Calson Corps over delays in completing the work.

Town Council President Paul Vadenais, who is a member of the Municipal Buildings Task Force that oversees the $3.5 million project, had urged council members to authorize up to $10,000 in additional spending for Providence-based firm Pierce Atwood LLP. Councilors had previously approved the first $10,000, with the agreement to revisit the issue if more funding was needed.

But when Vadenais submitted the request last week, Councilors Douglas Osier and Paul Zwolenski expressed frustration with the lack of information on the process.

Councilors ultimately voted to schedule a meeting to have the attorney update them on the project.

And after a roughly hour long executive session on Tuesday, Nov. 12, it seemed few questions remained.

“When it gets close to can we get notification,” Councilor Douglas Osier asked, of the new $15,000 limit.

The attorney said he would do a better job of keeping councilors informed.

Councilors unanimously approved an October bill for legal services totaling $4,312 along with the new limit.

Vadenais said last week that the project to convert the 17,000-square-foot building into town offices is currently 85 percent complete.

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