FRANKLIN — In case you have an thought for the following chapter within the lifetime of the South Franklin Congregational Assembly Home, it is time to come for a peek and — if you happen to’re nonetheless afterward — to share your concepts.
A month after agreeing it is time for the city to let go of the 166-year-old property, the City Council is formally placing the decision out for expressions of curiosity, due April 29.
Forward of that deadline, an open home for potential new custodians of city historical past is deliberate for 10 a.m. to midday on Monday. A second open home will likely be scheduled earlier than the deadline for letters of curiosity.
When you’re a lover of historical past who’s occupied with endeavor rehabilitation to create a house, or you may have one other thought good for the one-acre lot at 762 Washington St., the council desires to listen to from you.
“That is referred to as an ‘expression of curiosity’ for a motive,” City Administrator Jamie Hellen stated. “This isn’t an RFP (request for proposal).”
The method, he stated, “is designed for people who wish to put pen to paper and present us their concepts.”
So there is no want for intensive architectural or finance plans. No legally binding paperwork, no buy and gross sales agreements. Simply concepts that can protect the constructing’s exterior, and preserve the city’s easement for entry to its adjoining water booster pump station whereas giving the property new life.
The open homes, he stated, will give folks an opportunity to undergo the constructing and decide if their concepts can actually match.
“That is fairly thrilling,” Hellen stated. “It is the furthest we have been with this.”
Already, he famous, he has heard from a handful of builders with some artistic concepts, and it is good to know “they’re on the market speaking, they’re pondering.”
The assembly home has been vacant since 2007. It beforehand served as residence to the Franklin Historic Museum, which was moved that 12 months to the previous senior heart within the downtown space on West Central Road.
Initially, the South Franklin Congregational Assembly Home was constructed as a handy worship house for Congregationalists in South Franklin who had problem making it to the primary Congregational Church within the city heart throughout unhealthy climate. It additionally served as a normal public assembly place for South Franklin residents.
Ultimately, the property got here underneath the stewardship of the Franklin Federated Church, which was created by merging the Congregational Church and the First Baptist Church.
The constructing was turned over to the city in 1972 and repurposed for the city museum beginning in 1975. After the museum vacated, the city supplied the property again to the church, however the church declined.
The clapboard-sided constructing has a porch, held up by 4 Doric-style columns, excessive ceilings, plaster partitions, a second-floor mezzanine, an attic and a bell tower.
The constructing wants a brand new ground on the bottom stage, and a spotlight paid to its underpinings, the place powderpost beetles have been arduous at work. The roof is nearing the tip of its life, and the home windows might require some TLC, although are thought-about to be in usually fine condition.
City officers say there’s lots of chance for the constructing to discover a new function by the hands of a personal dreamer, however no apparent municipal use given the obstacles, reminiscent of related prices — the city has different tasks on its record of priorities — parking and accessibility.
Councilors in February stated they do not care if the city finally sells the property for $1 — they only wish to see it go to an excellent caretaker who will protect the historic exterior and preserve the construction.
Letting the constructing proceed to take a seat vacant isn’t an possibility.
For inquiries, contact the city administrator’s workplace at 508-520-4949 or electronic mail by way of the city web site at https://www.franklinma.gov/folks/jamie-hellen
To view the architectural examine of the assembly home, go to tinyurl.com/SFMeetingHouseStudy