November 7, 2012

Augusta City Council considers fate of historic, but run-down, Bond Street house on Thursday

By Keith Edwards
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- The fate of a small duplex on Bond Street, an example of mill housing that was once common throughout New England is up for City Council discussion Thursday.

City Manager William Bridgeo said he'll suggest to councilors the city try selling the building, but with restrictions requiring the new owner to preserve the historic but dilapidated structure.

The vacant, city-owned mustard-yellow house at 25 Bond St. has been a hot topic in the city for years. Some city residents, including a neighboring property owner, have said it is a hazardous eyesore that should be torn down.

But historic preservationists have advocated for it to be saved and maybe even turned into a museum.

In response to the debate over the building's fate, city officials have had people with expertise in to check it out, including Zachary Violette, a college student from the area who is studying the architecture of that part of the city, and Windsor residents Pam and Ron Kenoyer, who have expertise with old homes.

Bridgeo said the experts think the building has a great deal of potential.

Violette, in a written analysis of the building's significance, said it "is a remarkably intact example of the type of small wood frame single-family tenement once common in textile manufacturing communities throughout New England, now largely altered, destroyed or ignored."

Councilors are scheduled to discuss what to do with the building, acquired by the city after the prior owner died in 1999, at their meeting tonight at 6:30 in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

* discuss making city designated bus stops smoke free in response to concerns about a parent smoking at a school bus stop;

* discuss the Augusta Parking District and possible need for it to be reauthorized by the state Legislature;

* hear a presentation on the impact of fireworks regulations;

* hear a presentation from Summit Natural Gas of Maine officials;

* discuss restricting where sex offenders who have committed acts against children may live;

* discuss an ordinance regarding abandoned swimming pools.

Keith Edwards -- 621-5647

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