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February 6, 2013

Kingston to decide fate of historic building

KINGSTON — The Grace Daley House has been standing at 165 Main St. for nearly 200 years. But the fate of the historic building is now up to the town voters.

Two warrant articles will appear on the ballot at Town Meeting March 12 after no amendments were made at the deliberative session Saturday.

One article asks residents to spend $150,000 on repairs to the building. Another article asks residents if they should raze the building if the previous article does not pass.

The house, which is owned by the town, is used now by a part-time thrift shop and for storage space. Last year, the town determined the house was in need of extensive repairs, including a new foundation and roof.

“I would be against putting this money into the building,” Selectman Mark Heitz said. “If you looked at the cost associated with the building and what we are using it for now, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

But Virginia Morse, chairman of the Kingston Historical District Commission, said the building is an important part of the town’s history.

“There’s a rhythm and pattern to the buildings in homes and schools, offices and town buildings,” Morse said. “This is just part of the pattern. We’ve already lost two patterns on the old Sanborn Regional High School campus. I would really like to try to save this.”

The house was built in 1834. It was used as a Congregational Church parsonage and a barbershop. The town bought the building in 1972. It’s now used by Kingston Community House, a nonprofit organization.

Morse said she realizes the town is asking for a lot of money for a little-used building, but said revitalizing it would be a priority for the commission.

“There are lots of uses that towns have for historic buildings,” Morse said. “People are always looking for a place to hold meetings. Towns who preserve historic buildings are healthier, more vibrant and economically more appealing.”

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