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Killingworth Shows Overwhelming Support for Parmelee Farm Lease (Video)

Residents approve the town's decision to lease the farmhouse to the Killingworth Historical Society.

 

Killingworth residents overwhelmingly approved the town's decision to lease the farmhouse at Parmelee Farm to the Killingworth Historical Society at a town meeting Thursday night.

Nearly all of the roughly 150 residents that showed up to Killingworth Elementary School affirmed an agreement that had been in place for about year before its validity was recently questioned by two residents.

"I believe this lease is in the best interest of the Town of Killingworth," First Selectman Cathy Iino told residents during brief remarks prior to the vote. "It gives the town a strong partner in preserving a piece of our historic legacy and making it accessible to the public."

Last year, town officials agreed to lease the farmhouse to the KHS for $1 per year for 99 years, with a requirement that the society be responsible for the interior upkeep of the building. A shorter lease was granted for the garage behind the farmhouse as well.

After two residents questioned the process this fall, Iino scheduled the town meeting to avoid any further discrepancy over whether the town charter required the lease to be approved by voters.

Michael Board, one of the residents who questioned the lease, stood before selectman during the meeting and asked whether a structural analysis of the farmhouse had been completed and how much repairs might cost to bring the bulding up to code (see video).

"The state has awarded the town [a] $150,000 [STEAP grant] to go towards the work at the farm. The two main things that we're going to be using that money for is getting the house up to code and working on getting a restroom facility," answered Tim Gannon, chairman of the Parmelee Farm Steering Commitee, a volunteer group that has spent countless hours restoring the property.

Iino said any additional town funding would require approval from voters.

Following a few more questions from Board, several residents spoke in favor of the agreement and the overall management of the property by the town.

"That was an eyesore and you've done a great job," Shelly Cumpstone said.

John McMahon, a member of Killingworth's Board of Finance, said the decision to allow the Historical Society to use the building will help preserve it.

"To have this occupied by the Historical Society, in my opinion, is the best thing that could happen in the long term," he said.

"If we own it, let's use it for something good and something nobile that this town can be proud of," said George Keithan, who told the audience that many of the town's historic artifacts were stored in the basement of town hall and deserved a new home.

"I love going by there and seeing the Christmas lights. It's a wonderful thing," he added.

Following comments, most raised their hands in support of the two leases, while very few voted against the agreement (see video).

Afterwards, Iino appeared to be looking foward to the farm's future.

"There are so many possibilities," she said.

Tim Gannon December 09, 2011 at 02:49 PM
I just wanted to say "thanks" to all of the Killingworth residents that came out last night to support the lease agreements between the town and the Killingworth Historical Society. Having the farmhouse occupied by the Historical Society was one of the primary recommendations that the Steering Committee had made to the selectmen in our Master Plan. We have felt that having them there, would be one of the cornerstones of the property improvements, and a benefit for everyone. By having the farmhouse as their new headquarters, the people of Killingworth would now have the opportunity to see a great deal of the items the the Historical Society has acquired over the years. Making them available for display on a rotating basis will be much better, than having them tucked away in the basement of the town office building. Thanks again for your support of our ongoing work to make Parmelee Farm a good example of what a group of dedicated volunteers and the town, can do together for everyone's benefit.
Mr.BIG May 11, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I have a very strong opinion about what has conspired with the so called vote for the lease to the historical society.It is wrong to think that I along with many other residents will allow this lease to stand. Lets state some very important facts: #1..Lease agreement was signed by historical society back in 2010 I believe.No vote was made and the towns people didn't even know about it. So this means the it was done against the town charter . #2.. Elected official decided that it wasn't legal so a chosen few were invited to the town meeting to vote on the lease to make it legal. I for one didn't even know that it took place and the ball was dropped again. In my opinion the lease is still null & void till the whole town can be notified and has a chance to vote on it.Or do I have to circulate a petition to have it go to a formal referendum. The plan truth of the matter is that the lease isn't fair to the tax payers.Many of us believe that it is one sided and shouldn't rely on tax payers to foot the bill "FOREVER". The farm is good place to go and has many things to offer but to restore a building that will be far to costly should be re-thought.As far as the society goes, they should raise the funds and apply for the grants to get the building restored.OH Lets face the truth of this matter.It will cost far more than $150,000. to get a C.O. for the building. My rough estimate off the top of my head, which seems to be the norm, would be closer to 800,000.00 dollars. Mr.BIG

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