HAVERHILL — The city-owned Clement Farm “barn” that has been home to the Wilbur Comeau American Legion Post 4 since 1930 needs major exterior repairs.
Post Commander John Lenotte said the roof, cupola and clapboards are deteriorated and need to be repaired or replaced. The roof leaks and needs to be patched, he said.
“It leaks on the dance floor, which is how we get our income by renting the hall for functions,” Lenotte told the City Council recently.
The Clement Farm property at 1314 Main St., near the Atkinson line, also includes the main farm house, several ball fields, a picnic area used by various groups during the summer and recreational trails for hiking and biking on the site. The building that is leased by the American Legion includes a lounge and function hall.
The post has a long-lease with city in which the city is required to make any necessary structural repairs to the building, Councilor William Macek said.
In recent years, the post has made interior renovations and upgrades in exchange for reduced rental payments, Macek said.
Macek said now it’s the city’s turn to take care of their responsibilities as the building’s landlord. He said the council’s Natural Resources and Public Property Committee will take up the matter at an upcoming meeting.
“The post just wants a better relationship with the city,” Macek said. “They want to work with us to get some of the issues addressed and we need to figure out what we can do to keep a valuable and historic city asset in good shape.”
Lenotte attended last week’s council meeting to ask for help. He told councilors the legion wants to work with the city to find a state or federal grant to pay for repairs
“We not here to point fingers or complain,” Lenotte said. “We want to work together on this.”
The nearly 200-year-old main farm house is unused and has also fallen into disrepair. A proposal a few years ago to restore the building did not come to fruition, Macek said.
Councilor Michael McGonagle said the council is eager to help the legion post upgrade the barn.
“Give us your priority list and we’ll figure out how to get it done,” McGonagle told Lenotte.