Town to demolish old barn on Middle Road

by Beth Melo on September 30, 2015

Post image for Town to demolish old barn on Middle Road

Above: This town owned property has fallen into severe disrepair, warranting demolition. (Image from Google Maps)

Last week, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved razing a Town owned property. The old barn on Middle Road has been deemed a safety hazard.

Building Commissioner Mark Robidoux inspected the property at the request of Public Works Director Karen Galligan. He concluded in a memo to the board:

the building should not be entered, additionally it should be razed at the Towns earlieast opportunity as it has become a life safety issue.

In advance of his request, Robidoux confirmed with the Historical Commission that the Demolition Delay Bylaw doesn’t apply to the structure.

Before voting, selectmen Paul Cimino raised concerns as to how the situation developed. Clarifying that he didn’t fault Robidoux, he wondered how the Town could have allowed one of its properties to fall in such disrepair.

Cimino also wanted to know if the Town owned any other properties they should be concerned about. Town Administrator Mark Purple promised to follow up with Galligan and get back to the board.

For Robidoux’s memo with pictures detailing the building’s condition, click here.

Note: The property is officially at 0 Middle Road. However, several plots of land have the same designation. The barn borders Leeds Land Farm on the southern stretch of Middle Road. (On Google Maps its near 124 Middle Road. By the Town’s GIS map, it lies on land parcel 28-4.)

1 Al Hamilton September 30, 2015 at 6:17 PM

Letting our town buildings decay is the official policy of the Town of Southborough.

A few years ago we had to tear down the Fire Engine Garage that was attached to Fayville Hall because it was falling down

Fayville hall has a second story that is condemned and a basement that is wet and has required expensive mold remediation (I wonder why it is wet when the attached cesspool is only about 10 ft from the field stone foundation)

The police station is now a compete dump, I hope we relocate the police dept before that building starts swallowing $100,000 bills like the Pats devoured the Jaguars.

The Arts center is still in need of 100’s of thousands of dollars of work even though we only house 2 or 3 employees there. You can count on the same neglect for Station 2 and the Fire House even though those are newer.

Why has this situation developed. The answer is in 3

1. We do not have a real need for all the square footage we own.

2. We probably allocate just enough capital maintenance budget to barely care for the square footage we need but no where near enough to care for the square footage we have.

3. We are unwilling to make the hard decisions about our excess capacity lest we offend the sensibilities of those that believe we are a small rural farming town or that these decrepit buildings are intimately tied to our cultural heritage.

We have a by law that is supposed to prohibit “Demolition by Neglect” but that could easily be our Town Motto

Let’s sell of some of these failing structures and use the money to help pay for the Public Safety facility and for proper, right sized, quarters for the rest.

2 Doreen A October 1, 2015 at 5:42 PM

Al Hamilton is absolutely correct. If the Town of Southboro has buildings that are no longer useful to us, why are we not selling them before they become bigger dumps? Also, I don’t understand why these buildings are allowed to deteriorate and never have any general maintenance. Let’s start using our tax dollars wisely by moving forward instead of living in the past!

3 Frank Crowell October 2, 2015 at 11:40 AM

I wonder if the barn was listed as historical and if yes, is the town following the recently passed bylaw ………………. to the letter?

4 Suzanne Leeds October 3, 2015 at 10:06 PM

I wonder if this barn could be moved back to a new foundation and renovated as a house and the town sell it with an acre of land that could generate some money for the town. The land would have to perk for a septic system. This would take time though. The building would have to be fenced off to keep people away from it’s dangerous condition. When we bought our property our barn, twice as big, was sway back and we supported it and kept it from caving in. I hate to see it wasted.

5 Gary October 16, 2015 at 8:49 AM

These are 2 separate structures. The upper barn was built over the lower barn, The lower barn is collapsing and has been for 20 years, Removing this is a good idea. The upper barn, while in need of repair is not ready to collapse. Yes, the foundation is bowing, but that could be remedied. The barn next door had the same issue years ago. That and a new roof would be the cost of keeping the barn. If both are torn down, a big hole must then be back-filled. This would be necessary due to the proximity to Middle Rd.
The demolition, removal and fill vs foundation, roof and small structure removal should be considered before destroying the character of the property.

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