Future of LeStage Property could include demolition

0
69
The home on the LeStage Property is in dire need of repairs. At a Town Council meeting, demolition of the building was discussed. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

A discussion of the historical LeStage Property included the possibility that it may be razed.

During a Town Council work session on goals and objectives, development of land came up. Councilor JoAnn Cathcart said that having been inside the home on the LeStage Property, she wasn’t in favor of spending more money to maintain it. A barn at the site has already been removed, and the home is in dire need to upgrades. Approximately $1 million has been spent on the property for repairs or upgrades.

I’ve been inside—it’s not worth keeping,” she said at the Feb. 28 meeting. “I would like to raze and add to the ball field. I personally would never vote for fixing the LeStage Property with the condition that it’s in.”

Cathcart said that the land could be used to expand the nearby athletic fields on High Street or add a concession stand. Councilor Darius Gregory said that there is “untapped revenue” that could be realized and suggested expanding mixed use bylaws now under development to include that land. Councilor Andrew Shanahan said senior housing could be a good use for the site.

It could fulfill multiple purposes,” said Shanahan.

Located on High Street, the house sits in front of the town’s Community Garden and is home to the Codding Farm. The farm was the homestead for two families who both became leading names in the jewelry industry, according to the Historical Commission’s web site.

For most of the 20th century, the farm at 217 High St. was owned by members of the LeStage family—owners of a family-run jewelry business established in 1863. Suzanne LeStage sold the land and buildings to the town of North Attleborough.

The North Attleborough Historical Commission was successful in working with a preservation consultant to list approximately four acres and the buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in April 2009. This was funded by the Massachusetts Historical Commission because of the historical significance of Codding Farm.

Town Manager Michael Borg said he has been in touch with Historic Commission regarding the land. He has looked at whether the town’s allocation from the American Repair Act could be used, though at this time it’s unclear if restoring a historic building is an allowable use. Borg added that none of the commission have suggested demolition.

We’re at a point where we need to do something with that property,” said Borg. “We need to act because it’s in dire condition. If we’re going to salvage it, the time is now.”