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Hi, I'm a longtime member of the dKos community -- I think I joined in 2003, back when GWB and his minions cast a dark shadow over the land -- but I'm mostly a lurker now.  Stupid job!    But I have a question and maybe a pleas for help...

I live in a small city outside Boston, Medford.  It's experiencing lots of growth these days and was just named "Best Place to Buy a Starter Home" in Greater Boston by Boston magazine.  That's high praise for a rough little hamlet run by the Mob not that long ago.

There's a old mansion, a designated historic property, the city owns that is run down and in need of repair.  Many in Medford wants to renovate it (cost: 3M to start) and then run it as a function hall (weddings, other parties).  The city could float a bond and then the property could actually start paying it back relatively soon.  It should be noted that the city floats many bonds for things like technology in the school, a playing field for the kiddos, etc.  BTW none of those bonds would be paid back.

Other screams that we have bigger priorities like a new fire station, fixing all the potholes after a nasty winter.  They also cite the expense of widening the driveway for firetruck access (because apparently if the truck is there FOR A FIRE and gets another call, it won't be able to turn around and take off ???), a wobbly business plan, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  They say do it later, even though costs will continue to rise. They say don't do it all, as there are concerns about traffic and noise.  Some critics cast it as a battle between "old" blue collar Medford and "new" professional Medford.  

I argue that it's not a zero sum game and we can get that new fire station, fix the potholes AND rehabilitate this historic home. I am wondering how best to proceed.  The pissed off side of me wants to shame these city councillors who take the easy route of passing the buck on renovation year after year. The non pissed off side of me wanted to ask the Daily Kos community if they have any ideas on how to generate attention, interest and enthusiasm for this project.

Thanks in advance!  Medford thanks you!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good luck (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't have a clue what to do about. But I like historic preservation and wish you the best.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 06:09:37 AM PDT

  •  Could it actually be profitable? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    $3M ("to start" as you indicate) is a big price tag for something that will see a limited use against competition from other venues.

    If there was some path forward to make that building part of the active community I would think your options would be greater.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 06:32:02 AM PDT

  •  interesting (0+ / 0-)

    nice distraction for me this morning, lol. Which property is it? The Brooks Estate?

    BTW I dont have a clue either... just find this stuff interesting. My mother grew up in the Berkshires, one of 7 children, her father was employed as the chauffeur; they lived "over the garage" on a wealthy family's estate there back in the 1920's. (She didnt tell us it was a seven car garage!) Its privately owned now and being reno'd to be some kind of hotel resort or something.

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 06:36:11 AM PDT

  •  You need a non-profit organization. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJayne, DawnN

    If there's not some historic preservationist society around, organize one yourself. You'll want that in order to solicit funds, to enter into contracts and to get liability insurance without jeopardizing your own assets. Once you're organized, you can do crowd-sourcing or even apply for state grants.
    Surely Massachusetts has an historic preservation office of some sort.
    If the town owns the structure, they can give it to an organization for a dollar, if they don't want to be bothered with the nitty-gritty of rehabilitation.
    The fire engine problem suggests a long drive. If so, there should be room for a turn-around. It will just cost more to construct. $3 million sounds steep, but it will be money well spent and getting dollars circulating is what it's all about.
    You could also contact the "this old house" people. They're always looking for projects.

    by hannah on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 07:09:37 AM PDT

  •  MA must have vibrant historic preservation groups. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN, unfangus

    Maybe try contacting the Massachusetts Historical Society for advice or referrals. Also, the state has a historic preservation office.

    I wish you good luck.

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 07:15:07 AM PDT

  •  Start here, looking for historic info. (0+ / 0-)

    on the property, and if it is eligible for local, state, or national designation.  Search the database.

    See what the MA SHPO says:

    That adds a layer of protection (delay) until a plan to rehab and keep the property csn be devised.

    There are state funding sources available for preservation.

    What will the city do if it can't renovate it? Sell it to someone to knock the house down and redevelop the site?  At the least, a historic designation puts in place some required documentation, and requires opportunities be explored to keep the property from being sold or torn down first.

    Hope that helps some.  Good luck.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 01:49:09 PM PDT

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