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.” 

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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