Despite some concerns, Canton selectmen voted 3-2 Wednesday night to accept the Cherry Brook Grange building.
The grange, which dates back to the 1940s, is disbanding and last fall offered the town its building at 534 Cherry Brook Road.
Some selectmen hesitated and some expressed concern about maintenance issues, including a roof that will soon need replacement and a damaged front door.
The Canton Land Conservation Trust had expressed an interest in using the building for office space and gatherings.
Wednesday, First Selectmen Richard Barlow reported that while it had not made a financial commitment, the organization was willing to put “sweat equity” into the building.
“I think it’s a very generous offer,” Selectmen Steve Roberto said, adding that it could work well for the town and the land trust.
Some selectmen, however, still said that while they were appreciate of the offer they had concerns that the town is struggling to keep up with what it already has.
“I don’t think there’s anyone sitting at this table that thinks it’s a must have,” David Gilchrist Jr. said.
Barlow, however, said he felt more groups would likely step forward and help with the building in exchange for use of the facility.
He also said the agreement would include an option to revert the building back to the grange if the town couldn’t keep up with it.
Selectmen Tom Sevigny agreed other groups could come forward and said with the option, he felt better about the acceptance.
“As long as there’s an out, I’m OK with it,” he said.
Selectmen voted 3-2 to accept it with Gilchrist and Lowell Humphrey voting against it.
Grange master Cora Mutch said she was grateful the town is willing to give it a try.
“We’re happy the town accepted it and look forward to the Land Trust and scouts using it,” she said.
Her brother Dan LeGeyt, said a gladiola society and others looking for meeting space have contacted him. Such a use would help keep the agricultural roots of the grange, he said.
“They’re always looking for meeting space,” he said.
Tim LeGeyt, another sibling, said he likes that it’s connected to town open space and is confident many organizations will step up to use the building and help maintain it.
It even has a stage and space for an audience, he said.
“There’s a variety of possibilities,” he said.
Mutch said there was certainly mixed feelings but knows many fraternal organizations are going through periods of consolidation. Membership in the local grange, which once hosted many fairs and dinners, had fallen below 30.
“It’s been such a great organization,” she said. “It seems like it’s a sign of the times.”
Tim LeGeyt said he also wants to make sure the town knows the grange does appreciate the acceptance.
“We’re very appreciative,” he said. “I like to think it will catch on and be a benefit to the town.”