WOODSTOCK-Woodstock selectmen Tuesday discussed the possibility of the town buying the old Grange Hall building in Bryant Pond.
Franklin Grange #124 is shutting down due to dwindling membership, and the state Grange organization is responsible for selling it, according to town officials.
An appraisal of the property is currently underway, Town Manager Vern Maxfield told selectmen at their Tuesday meeting. A survey of the property was recently completed, which verified Grange ownership of the 1892 building and its land from Route 26 back to a brook. The town owns an old stable and the land it sits on behind the building.
The Grange property also provides access on one side to the adjacent Whitman Memorial Library, and there is a public right of way that goes behind the stable to an old mineral spring.
Maxfield and Selectman Ron Deegan have looked at the interior of the Grange, and both said it was in good shape.
The town has the first option to buy the building, Maxfield said, at market value.
The question now, said Deegan, is “do we want the taxpayers to own it?”
“It would make a beautiful building for the Woodstock Historical Society,” he said.
Selectman Shawn Coffin agreed the building is beautiful, but he wasn’t sure the town needs it. He said it could serve well as a location for fundraising meals to benefit an organization like the WHS.
The board decided to talk to members of the Historical Society to see if they would have any interest in it.
Also discussed was the future of the stable, which Woodstock had used as the town garage and for storage in the past.
That too is structurally sound, the officials said. Deegan said he was not sure it was practical to keep it, but Coffin said the town “always seems to have the need to store something.” No decision was made.
In other business Tuesday, Sen. Angus King’s regional representative, Ben Tucker, attended the meeting and presented Maxfield with a proclamation from the senator in recognition of the town manager’s 30 years of service in that capacity in Woodstock.
In other parts of the business meeting, the selectmen:
* Accepted a bid for winter road maintenance for the next three years from John Halacy of Milton, in a total amount of $69,500 for each year ($28,700 for Woodstock roads and $40,800 for Milton Township roads). That’s an annual increase of $12,000 total over the past cost, Maxfield said. Oxford County reimburses Woodstock for the Milton expense.
* Heard a complaint from a citizen who said the quality of mowing/maintenance on some town properties is not up to standards.
* Received a complaint that the town’s barking dog ordinance is not being adequately enforced (Maxfield was directed to look into it).
* Signed a six-month contract with realtor Gary Williamson to advertise the town’s Trail’s End property for sale, and agreed to also talk to him about also listing tax-acquired property on North Main Street.
* Heard from Fire Chief Kyle Hopps that the WFD plans to utilize portable speed bumps when firefighters are present on Route 26. He said vehicles often go too fast past the fire personnel.