The Rockland City Council agreed Feb. 1 to seek a grant to pay for a comprehensive review of the condition of the city’s recreation center.

But the action was not taken without criticism.

“I’m so tired of spending money on this building,” Councilor Tom Molloy said.

He said the city has spent $661,000 thus far on the renovation project that was originally estimated to cost $416,000.

“I don’t want to keep sending money down a rat hole,” Molloy said. “I will not spend one more cent on this building.”

During the public comment session of the meeting, former Councilor Adele Grossman Faber reminded councilors she had warned them not to do renovation work on the building until a ventilation system was in place. She said her plea was ignored and now mold has returned to the building.

City Manager Rosemary Kulow said some mold was found in the recently completed section used by the Rockland District Nursing Association but it was cleaned two weeks ago and has not returned since a humidifier was installed.

Kulow said the city needs to know what is going on with the structure, however, and an overall assessment of its condition is needed.

The council voted 4-1 on Feb. 1 (with Molloy voting no) to apply for a Preserve America Historic Preservation Fund Grant to pay for half the cost of a study. The city would have to pay for the other half.

The estimated cost of the study is $33,000. The city has interviewed firms but no hiring will be done until money is available.

The deadline for filing the application is Feb. 12. Kulow said she does not know when a decision will be made on whether the city will receive the grant.

The recreation center/community building was built in 1935 by laborers hired as part of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

The current renovation project, which includes a new floor and bleachers, is expected to be done March 12. When the project began, the city decided to also install a sprinkler system, replace the boiler and remove an underground fuel tank.

Councilor Eric Hebert said it makes sense to do the job right, and the cost of a new recreation center would be far more than what has been spent on the building.

The City Council gave the go-ahead in February 2006 for a private citizen group to raise money for a new recreation center that was then estimated to cost $4.3 million. That effort did not get off the ground, however, and has been shelved in the wake of the current economic recession.