By Brenda Crowell
An area of Mendon near Main and Maple Streets that encompasses the historic Record Room building has been approved for a survey to determine property lines in the first step to potentially renovating or selling the building.
Mendon’s Select Board and Finance Committee, in their joint meeting of February 16, approved up to $11,000 for the survey per an existing quote.
Select Board member Lawney Tinio said that the town had met with David and Jane Lowell, who own property nearby.
“We met with the Lowells because there was a concern about how the property lines were laid out around the building; that the lot lines were on pretty much the perimeter of the building,” Tinio said. “When we started to look a little deeper, the lot line isn’t even on the building.”
The Record Room building, located at 13 Main Street, needs extensive renovations. The brick structure was built in 1825 and was originally the law offices of Seth Hastings, who was a United States Representative from 1801 to 1807, and his son, William Soden Hastings. Seth Hastings, a Harvard graduate, also served as Mendon’s Treasurer from 1794 to 1795. William Soden Hastings was the town’s first Postmaster.
“The town owns (the building). It’s a pretty historical component of our community,” said Historical Society Recording Secretary Kathy Schofield. “Do we just lose it, or do we try to find a resource or get it to the point where it can be a resource?”
Schofield said that the building has no running water or septic but has suffered damage due to water in the basement and insects, specifically beetles.
“We would rather not see the building fall in on itself. We’d like to preserve it,” Schofield said. “We need to make sure that the foundation is stable, that the building is not taking on water, that a French drain is installed, and this is why we need to work with Jane and David Lowell to see if we can get on the property around the perimeter.”
The funds for the survey will most likely come from the Finance Committee reserve. Monies for renovating the building, should that be the decision made based on the survey results, could potentially come from a Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund grant that Schofield plans to apply for. She noted that Community Preservation Act (CPA) will do a 50/50 match for any grant funds awarded.
“The funding source we’d have available to move right now on this $11,000 is primarily going to be the Finance Committee reserve,” said Mendon Town Administrator Kim Newman, adding that there is $58,000 available from the reserve. “It says extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures, so as far as I’m concerned, I think this fits within that.”
“The reason for the extraordinary circumstances is we have to have this (survey) completed before we can apply for the grant,” said Selectman Michael Merolli. “There’s a deadline for the grant of the first week in March.”
The historic Record Room at 13 Main Street in Mendon and several surrounding properties will be surveyed as a possible first step in getting the 1825 building renovated. Google Maps image.