‘Structural concerns’ temporarily displace 9 Taunton businesses
TAUNTON, Mass. (WLNE) — Nine businesses had to temporarily shut down their stores on Main Street after construction crews found structural concerns in the old building.
Applause Academy is one of the businesses, and doesn’t know when they’ll be back in their original location.
The musical theater nonprofit for children between the ages of three and 18 were told to evacuate as soon as possible one week ago. They were hosting 36 children at the time.
“I mean, it’s pretty hard to get 40 parents to pick up their kids all at once,” said Jenna Medeiros, operations manager at Applause Academy. “We stayed for the remained of the day.”
For over a week, Applause Academy has been running their summer program in Friedman Middle School.
Taunton Public Schools and Mayor Shaunna O’Connell helped the business find the middle school on short notice. She is also working to temporarily relocate other affected businesses.
O’Connell told ABC 6, “We’re looking at open spaces that we have. City buildings and other businesses that might have locations for them.”
The mayor has fielded frustrations from affected businesses. She says she plans to meet with developers about when the businesses can return to Taunton’s downtown area.
The construction company found serious cracks in the structure of the building developed in the 1800s.
O’Connell added, “When you’re doing a lot of redevelopments and you’re lifting up downtown, and you’re working on old buildings like this, the unfortunate thing is that this can happen.”
Private contractors were developing 38 housing units in the second and third floor of the building.
Applause Academy hopes to be back in their Main Street location this September but has no timetable on their return at this time.