By George Brennan
June 29. 2015
SANDWICH — One historic building would be fixed using community preservation funds and the other rehabbed using the labor of Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School students under plans put into motion last week by town officials.
In two unanimous votes Thursday, the Board of Selectmen approved starting the process to restore the 1885 Clark-Haddad Building and the 1756 Deacon Eldred House.
Architects from McGinley Kalsow & Associates Inc., the same firm that restored Sandwich Town Hall, presented selectmen with their report on necessary repairs as well as possible uses for the two historic buildings before the votes.
Selectmen agreed to ask the Community Preservation Committee for $1.1 million to turn the Clark-Haddad Building, named for the first two Sandwich men killed in World War I, into a function hall that could be rented to small groups for meetings or rehearsals.
“It fits in where the demand is for a smaller, more affordable place for groups to meet for their events,” Selectman Patrick Ellis said.
“I think the demand is out there now,” Chairman Frank Pannorfi added.
The building, once the Sand Hill School and last used as administrative offices by the school district, has fallen into disrepair that includes boarded up windows and chipped paint. It is located at 16 Dewey Ave.
“It’s in a neighborhood,” Selectman Ralph Vitacco said. “It’s a town building and that makes it even worse.”
An attempt by selectmen to get permission to sell the building in 2010 was thwarted by town meeting voters. Ellis, who was not a selectman at the time, led the charge for preservation.
Meanwhile, the town does have permission to sell the Deacon Eldred House at 4 Water St. but has had no takers.
Because the town can’t afford to take on both projects at the same time, Ellis proposed exploring the use of Upper Cape Tech students to do the work on the Deacon Eldred House over a five-year period.
The building needs about $740,000 worth of work, but recently got a new roof, which should slow the building’s deterioration, Ellis said.
The idea is to turn the Deacon Eldred House, which is in the heart of the town’s historic district, into a house museum that could be part of a walking tour with the Hoxie House and Dexter Grist Mill.
“That’s the remaining pearl (in the necklace),” Pannorfi said. “It needs to be dusted off a little bit, then reset, and that’s what we’re talking about here.”
— Follow George Brennan on Twitter: @gpb227.