When Carol Baldwin heard that Weston is considering demolishing the Lachat house on Godfrey Road West, she immediately began thinking of ways to raise funds to save the property.
"I think there's money out there," said Baldwin, who has contacted the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as organizations that preserve funding for farms. She also hopes to secure private donations from people in Weston.
Baldwin, who has lived in an antique house in Weston for the past 20 years, is a member of the Weston Historical Society and the Weston Historic District. She recently spoke at a Lachat/Nature Center Building Committee meeting about her proposal to raise funds to save the house. She will take a proposal to the Board of Selectmen meeting Thursday in hopes of getting more time before demolition.
Weston has no delay of demolition rule, which Baldwin said scared her. She said surrounding towns, such as Westport, have a delay of 180 days before a property can be demolished.
Baldwin hopes to preserve the exterior of the house to 1850s vintage. The house was built in the 1700s and had renovations completed in the 1800s. She wants to clear out the interior, saving historical elements and making it into a functional space. "It's great to preserve it, instead of just letting it disappear," said Baldwin.
A member of the Green Village Initiative proposed converting a portion of the property into a town farm. Baldwin said this project could mirror a similar project in Westport at Wakeman Farm, where a high school teacher lives in the house and takes care of the farm in lieu of rent.
"It's a great use for preserving the house. That's what has been lacking in the past a use," she said. The cost to restore the house could cost $800,000, said Baldwin, who has been speaking with architects that may work for free.
The Board of Selectmen will meet during executive session Thursday to discuss ownership of the Lachat property, which is owned by both the town and the Nature Conservancy.
What do you think the town should do with the Lachat property? Leave your comments below.
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