LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Make Damaged, Historic House a Private Home Again

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What should happen to the home at 63 Main Street next to Roudenbush that was
damaged by fire four years ago? This weekend you can make that decision at special
Town Meeting.

As a Westford historian and coordinator of the Common Preservation Project, I
ask you to please come to the Westford Academy Trustees Field and support Article 24 to allow this historic 1893 house, sited within in the Westford Center National Historic District, to remain a private home.

Two years ago at the October 2018 town meeting, voters appropriated $700,000
for the town to purchase and stabilize 63 Main Street to save it from further damage.
Since then, the house has been cleaned, dried, and a temporary roof added to prevent
rain from entering the attic.

In the summer of 2019 a survey of Westford residents taken by the 63 Main
Street Task Force resulted in 54.2 percent of the respondents checking “Agree/Strongly
Agree” for the town to “Sell this property as a single family residence with a historic
restriction.” Now it is time for Town Meeting to be heard.

A single family home is what the property has been since the house and carriage
house were built in 1893. Passing Article 24 will authorize the selectmen to carry out
the sale and keep it a home.

The selectmen oppose Article 24, wanting to further explore the idea of
renovating the house and possibly adding on to it for administrative office space for
school administration offices or offices for other town departments.

We want the town to sell the house as a private home.

The voters who placed Article 24 on the warrant do not want the town to go down that path. We want the town to sell the house as a private home.

Article 24 would also allow the town to retain the back portion of the 3-acre, 63 Main St. property that abuts the Town Hall parking lot. This gives a future Town Meeting the option of creating up to 32 additional parking spaces for Town Hall and events on Westford Common.

This parking would be far enough from the house and from Main Street that it would not detract from the historic integrity of the 1893 house and land.

Please come to Town Meeting and vote to implement the preference expressed by those who responded to the 63 Main Street Task Force survey.

Vote “Aye” on Article 24. Town Meeting begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday October 17 at the Westford Academy Trustees Field. The rain date is Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. –Ellen Harde, Westford, Massachusetts