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Canton Selectmen Accept Cherry Brook Grange Building

Vote split and agreement will include an option to revert building back to grange.

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.” 

Cindy February 28, 2013 at 06:03 PM
It would be wonderful if the town would consider using it like the Country Side Park in Avon. You can rent out Country Side for personal functions like family gatherings if you don't have a large enough space at home. It's inexpensive to Avon town residents and extremely useful!
Canton Resident March 01, 2013 at 01:02 AM
That sounds like a great idea.
Fred March 01, 2013 at 12:46 PM
How about using the property for a highway garage site? There is enough property to fit the garage and all they want. It is right next door to the North Canton Fire House. With the problems the North Canton Association is having they too will soon be asking the town to take their building and property. Combined there would be some 12 acres of town property. How about consideration of this and saving the tax money that would be used to buy property somewhere else?
N. Jon I. Twist March 01, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Fred......location location location. Why not at the end of Case St?
Betty March 01, 2013 at 08:35 PM
It is very generous of the grange to offer the town its building at 534 Cherry Brook Road. The Country Side Park type of facility sounds like a great idea. Other area towns have similar facilities.
Fred March 02, 2013 at 02:36 AM
So in other words if the garage isn't on 44 no idea is no good. Gee looking at other surrounding towns the garages are all removed from the town center, those towns seem to survive. The Grange location is less than 5 miles from 44 and Collinsville. With the logic you present that, it must be that a Garage in Collinsville is somehow closer to the north end than the other way around. Doesn't make much sense. The whole town uses the same services in the same ways. The belief that the Grange property is too far from Collinsville is a mis-belief that will be costing the taxpayer upwards of a million dollars. You can make a lot of 5 mile trips for a million dollars. Other than some belief that the garage needs to be near Collinsville, what is bad about the idea?
Richard S. March 02, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Is there no one talking about using the property on Lawton Road for the town garage? We've owned it for years. It's flat. And we can put both the garage and soccer fields on the same site. Am I missing something?
Donna Carney March 02, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Richard lawton road is going to be a park and ball fields grant money for it not for garage. Fred Grange Property was given to be used for others to enjoy the building not to be wripped down and replaced I am sure the grange put that in writting..I do like the idea of renting it out if it is possible but I don't know if it is allowed by the grange. I love the idea of fixing it and using it for land trust and scouts keeping Canton the way it was perfect....
Betty March 02, 2013 at 05:36 PM
I think we should to respect people's wishes that donate property, whether it is the Grange Property, Werner's Woods, or any other property someone generously donates.
Wayne Goeben March 02, 2013 at 08:35 PM
The town needs to be able to put the pieces together and look down the road 20 or 30 years. We have continuosly done things in pieces and regretted it later: 1.) the library/community center (it was an abandoned school, we'll never need more school space, right?) 2.) Millenium field-a whole space in a central area where we could have consoldiated our municipal infrastructure, closing some buildings (most of which are not ADA compliant and extremely energy inefficient), and selling others. All we got out of that deal were two baseball fields. 3.) And the Police dept-an isolated island that isn't attached to anything, no shared infrastructure etc. The town cannot maintain the infrastructure it has, it definitely should not be taking on more, especially when there is know maintenance issues.
Richard S. March 03, 2013 at 02:26 AM
There was a design that was prepared that showed both the garage and the fields on Lawton Road. Seems like a waste of money to buy property somewhere else to build the garage when we own something already. Let's get as much use out of Lawton Road as we can. Seems like the responsible thing to do.
John Fitts (Editor) March 03, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Richard - The fields and path would take up most of the flat area on the Lawton Road property. There was consideration of a garage there at one point but don’t believe there was a design for the fields and garage together - at least not with the current recreation plan. With the North Canton grange property, I’ve been told that there may be wetlands and other issues. I can certainly ask about it next week, however.
Betty March 03, 2013 at 06:58 PM
I agree we should plan for the future and we need to think in terms of total build out of all of our facilities. We should have vision. Canton could have bought the building that Ocean State Job Lot is in to house many town facilities, we missed the boat. Some infrastructure projects should be looked at as long term investments.
Donna Carney March 03, 2013 at 07:20 PM
John I live on Lawton there are wet lands and they said there wasn't enough room for a garage. plus Lawton Road people don't want street light most of the people here are older and want it quiet...aren't they allowed that much??
Richard S. March 03, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Thanks for the information John. I'm sure there are lots of issues. There are lots of issues with other sites too. So many in fact, that voters voted down 2 proposals already. If the current recreation plan doesn't allow multi use, then we should see if there's a plan that will. Certainly we owe it to all taxpayers to try to find the most efficient and cost effective plan. From what I have observed, that doesn't appear to be an objective of our town yet. Hopefully it will sometime soon. Or we will all pay for it.
Betty March 03, 2013 at 09:08 PM
We should try to find a location for the town garage that does not disturb a neighborhood. I liked the RT 44 and RT 179 location because it was at the intersection of two main corridors, and the closest neighbor said it would not find it to be a disturbance. It seemed to be a long term investment for the town of Canton. We have been trying to build a town garage for decades, I think it's been something like 26 years.
Corey A Russo March 04, 2013 at 02:35 PM
I think we should try and develop Rt. 44 and establish a strong commercial tax base before we build all these ball fields and buildings maybe its time to reduce residential building permits and ease up on commercial permits witch bring in much needed tax dollars housing permits put a big tax on schools police and fire it just does not make any scents not to develop Rt. 44 and now
Canton Taxpayer March 04, 2013 at 02:47 PM
@ Richard S. -- the Lawton Rd. fields are designed and approved by the P&Z people. However, we have no money to fund it right now (not a surprise given the pool, the pool study and the track and field bonds already approved). So why not use that property for a garage and save $1 million? Very good question. I, for one, would appreciate a little more concern for the people footing these bills -- the property owners....
Betty March 04, 2013 at 08:24 PM
You are right! The Shoppes at Farmington Valley are Canton's #1, #3, & #4 tax payers. Had Lowe's been built we could have paid for many roads, and repairs to our infrastructure!

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