BRIDGEWATER — The fate of the Bridgewater Grange Hall will hinge upon an upcoming vote in May to decide whether the historic building will be sold to the Bridgewater Preservation Association.

Members of the town’s grange created the nonprofit in hopes to make the aging structure a functioning building once again.

“The mission of the [Bridgewater Preservation Association] is to buy, renovate and place the historic Bridgewater Grange Hall back into service,” said association member Lisa Burns.

The association has developed a plan, supported by the state Historic Preservation Office, that provides an alternative to demolishing the historic building.

The building was under threat of demolition when the state’s historical council recognized its historic significance in 2018 and voted to recommend its protection under the state’s Environmental Protection Act.

The Board of Selectmen has authorized a vote to sell the building to the Bridgewater Preservation Association, which will take place during Bridgewater’s town meeting on May 22.

“We are very optimistic about this latest development,” Burns said.

The town meeting at the Pratt Pavilion will begin at 10 a.m. Doors will open an hour early for voter check-in and paper ballot distribution.

If the vote is passed, ownership of Bridgewater Grange Hall will be transferred to the Bridgewater Preservation Association with renovations to follow.

Renovation would be carried out in several stages — starting with a pre-construction survey and planning work, followed by replacement of the building’s foundation, rehabilitation of its exterior and first floor interior, and then completion of the second floor interior.

According to the association, the building’s renovation will not only protect its historic character, but “preserve an important part of Bridgewater’s agrarian history for the benefit of future generations.”

“The Grange Hall has served Bridgewater for the past 167 years, and with this vote we can look forward to the building serving the town for future generations,” according to a statement from the Bridgewater Preservation Association.

Source Article