Preservation Restriction Approved
by Ellen Knight
In November, Town Meeting approved a permanent preservation restriction for the Sanborn House, a tool to improve the Societyâ€™s chances of getting grants to help with the Sanbornâ€™s restoration.
In 2006, when the Society signed a lease with the town to restore and manage the Sanborn House as an historical and cultural center for the community, the town conveyed a five-year preservation restriction to the Massachusetts Historical Society. Seeing the expiration date approaching, the Society requested that the restriction become permanent.
â€œRestoring and maintaining the house requires significant resources,â€ Nancy Schrock told Town Meeting. The Society has taken in about $275,000 over the past three years and, with the added contribution of labor and materials, has made substantial improvements inside and out. The Society needs an additional $1.2 million to continue the restoration work. Although the Society secured an allocation of $125,000 in State funds, that funding was later lost to State cutbacks.
State and federal agency grants and private foundations are potential sources for funding, Schrock said, but â€œcompetition is intense.â€ Illustrating her point by reference to specific grant-awarding groups and their criteria, she said a permanent preservation restriction significantly increases the chances of getting grants, as does a record of community support.
Selectman Tom Howley said that the Board of Selectmen recommended approval. Peter Cheimets reported that the Finance Committee was in favor. (The School Committee also voted its support at its own meeting.) Following a few questions, Town Meeting passed the motion with a nearly unanimous vote.