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Town-Owned Cottage, Barn Goes to Auction

Historic buildings behind Brookfield Library go to auction March 16.

After a public hearing Tuesday night, Brookfield registered voters moved 27-1 to allow the town to place a 0.9-acre property located behind the library up for auction. The property, listed as 186 Whisconier Road, includes a historic barn and cottage, the latter of which was rented for a time but has fallen into disrepair.

A stipulation of the sale included in the bid documents requires the new owners to begin work restoring the two buildings to code and Historic District regulations within six months of purchase and to complete the renovations within 18 months.

The cottage, built in 1883, was one of 15 buildings part of the original Curtis School for Boys and is on the local and state registries as a historic structure.

“The Curtis School was Brookfield Center,” Historic District Commission Chairman Jacqueline Salame said. “Besides [the cottage] and the theater, there really isn’t much left. It really was the heart of Brookfield Center at the time.”

The Library Board of Trustees purchased the property in 2001 with the intention of using the land for future expansion plans. Those plans have since been abandoned and without renters or regular maintenance the buildings have deteriorated.

Salame estimated the cost for restoration to be upwards of $100,000 but likely less than the minimum bid set for the auction: $140,000.

Both Salame and Selectman Howard Lasser indicated that there has already been some interest in the property at the minimum price and expect it to sell at the March 16 auction.

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Potential bidders can inspect the property on March 8 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and March 16 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Read the bid document attached above for more information.

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Brookfield resident Joe Grimes brought up a question about access to the cottage and barn, which is currently by way of the joint driveway used by the library and The Brookfield Theatre for the Arts (TBTA).

The property does have frontage on Whisconier Road, however, “Because of traffic on that road and that corner, they may not be able to get a permit from the state to put a driveway in,” Grimes noted. If new owners plan to use the existing driveway, Grimes suggested there be a “shared easement and maintenance agreement.”

According to Library Director Anita Barney, when the Library Board of Trustees initially agreed to the sale they made an informal agreement with TBTA to share the driveway, however nothing was included in the deed or put in writing.

Town attorney David Grogins pointed to the section of the bid documents that state that the property is being sold as is.

“And whatever is, is,” he said, reasoning that access and maintenance agreements will be the responsibility of the new owners.

Whether or not an easement is needed will be left up to the town attorneys, Selectman Howard Lasser said after the meeting. If an easement is required, Lasser noted that the approved resolution empowers the town to do whatever is legally necessary to carry out the motion, which may include an additional agreement in the final sales contract.

Steven DeVaux February 21, 2013 at 09:59 AM
Surprise, surprise. The administration over the last four years allowed town property to fall into disrepair and failed to rent it out as prior administrations had. Worse, they are using the proceeds to pay down the cost overruns on Kids Kingdom. Shame, shame, shame...
Publius March 16, 2013 at 07:12 PM
So the value of the property is about $150K, but it will be REQUIRED to have at least $100K in repairs over the next 18 months. After that, it's not inhabitable because there is no legal access to the property from the street. Resolving that will be several more thousands in legal fees unscrambling whatever they've done. A bid of $1 might be overpaying for this....
Steven DeVaux March 16, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Get ready. Next up the Brookfield Players Theater will be on the block and the Library. Could the plan be to build a Memorial Library/Theater with lots of parking on Station Road @ Four Corners using taxpayer money on contaminated land? Is the town totally abandoning the historic district?
Steven DeVaux June 01, 2013 at 07:58 AM
So what ever happened to the town cottage sale? They need the proceeds for the new library they want to build at Four Corners, no?

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