KINGSTON — For the second straight year, the fate of the Grace Daley House will lie in the hands of voters.
A citizens petition has been submitted by members of the Kingston Heritage Commission and Kingston Historic District Commission. The petition asks voters to hold off on demolishing the historic home for two years while the groups figure out a plan for the building.
“There is potential that this could be a viable resource for the town,” Kingston Heritage Commission Chairman Debra Powers said. “The thing is, no one’s taken the time to dig into it.”
Last year, voters rejected spending $150,000 to repair the building, 516-428. They then voted, 579-328, to raze the building.
Since that vote, there have been several attempts to dismantle the home and preserve the materials, including one by actor Bronson Pinchot, who wanted to feature it on his television reality show.
The building has stood on Main Street since 1834. It served as a parsonage for many years.
In August, the town reached an agreement with Kingston resident Robert Pothier of First Period Colonial Preservation. Pothier had said he would dismantle the home this winter and preserve the materials.
But in October, selectmen voted to postpone the demolition indefinitely to give the local groups an opportunity to come up with a plan to save the building.
If this vote fails, it may be the last chance for the historic home.
“If it fails, (the demolition) would happen shortly after the vote,” Powers said.
Virginia Morse, chairman of the Kingston Historic District Commission, said the two groups are looking for ways to fund the repairs. But they won’t be asking the taxpayers for help.
“This is a non-monetary proposition,” Morse said. “We’re looking at grant money and donations that would cover what needs to be done.”
Powers said the house needs $144,000 of repairs to keep the building up and running. It could need $400,000 before it is habitable.
“It needs a new roof,” Powers said. “There are some other repairs that need to be done as well.”
But they don’t want to apply for grants, unless they are backed by the taxpayers.
“I wouldn’t write a grant unless we have full community support because it’s a lot of work,” Powers said. “I want to ask for their opinion and hopefully everyone doesn’t get all hot about it again.”
In addition to being a parsonage, the building once housed a barbershop. After the town bought the building in 1972, it was used by the Kingston Community House, a nonprofit organization, that operated a thrift shop there.