MWRA not budging on Nichols House use

by susan on December 23, 2009

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The Nichols House is an historic home that sits just outside the gates of the Fayville Dam (map). It’s owned by the MWRA, and for a while now the town has been trying to convince the water authority to donate the home for use as an historical museum.

Earlier this year, the MWRA rejected the plan citing security concerns. Since then, Southborough’s state representatives have been trying to convince the water authority to reconsider.

State representatives Danielle Gregoire and Carolyn Dykema met with MWRA officials earlier this month in an attempt to put pressure on the agency, but Gregoire told Southborough selectmen the agency was “uncooperative” on the issue.

The MWRA shot back saying they’re not being uncooperative, just practical. “We can’t afford to spend any more money on something that lies outside our mission to provide reliable, cost effective, high quality water and sewer services,” a representative told the Metrowest Daily News.

You can read more in these recent articles by the Metrowest Daily News:

1 dean dairy December 24, 2009 at 9:29 AM

Looks like the building needs a lot of work. What connection is there between Southborough and the Buffalo Soldiers, other than the happenstance that this one collector lives in town, that could help attract vistors and help support the expense of this endeavor? What will the reaction of Native Americans be to this museum? A lot of unanswered questions here.

2 Steven Levy December 27, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Excellent questions. While I am all for preserving history, spending taxpayer money to make this a museum only makes sense if there is a connection between this building/the town and the Buffalo Soldiers. Is there a connection? Does anyone know?

3 Kelly December 25, 2009 at 1:47 PM

What a shame, that would be such an asset for the S’Boro Historial Society. Are there any pics of the inside of the house?

4 John December 28, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Well, there really is no connection between Southborough and the Buffalo Soldiers other than Pete Depina being an avid historian on the subject.

The Nichols house has been pretty much abandoned for years. I can’t even tell you when the last MDC family moved out of there. Unfortunately time is on nobody’s side and I am quite sure the house would need a lot of expensive work to make it into a building for public use as a museum. I also understand the MWRA not wanting this to happen on their property. With the large watershed, reservoir, tunnel controls….name it, it would be an excessively high liability to allow public use of this facility.

Because of lack of maintenance, unfortunately, I think the building should be razed. Sorry Pete.

5 Ken January 6, 2010 at 7:35 PM

The main issue is the Nichols House is listed on the National Historic Register and is located in a Historic District and should have been maintained and preserved and not allowed to deteriorate by the MWRA ,additionally, they have never been asked to incur expenses for this project. Stony Brook Museum, Inc has presented plans to the MWRA for renovation of the property which will house an American History Museum and will be done through foundation grants, fundraising, and private donations The building is structurally sound, would be an asset to the community and attract visitors to local businesses. Security should not be an issue as there are houses on the north side of the MWRA property close to dam.

6 mtferris January 6, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Hay Ken – what about getting our school children involved in this historic house? A penny drive could be initiated and carried on throughout the upcoming years. This was recently taken on by the former commander of the USS Consitution and very successful. I bet a history buff like Mr. Nobel at the Fay school would possibly be interested as well. Just a thought. – M –

7 Ken January 7, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Stony Brook will use all resources for creation of the museum to expand public awareness in our American history, something that is no longer in our educational systems due to mandated classroom studies. Citizenship can be strengthened through educational presentations of historic examples and reinforcement of important values that may be reflected and returned to our community. Total involvement of the community is our goal and you suggestion is a great idea.

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