Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 06-13-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JUNE 13-19, 2019 LINCOLN 5 LINCOLN – A Special Town Council Meeting drew dozens of residents to Lincoln Town Hall on Monday for a vigorous debate about the fate of the town's oldest structures, one of only 10 or so historic stone- ender homes left in the state. The conversation was centered on the Valentine Whitman Jr. House, built around 1694 and purchased by the town in 1991. Nonprofit Preserve Rhode Island is seeking to take control of the home to rehabilitate it and either rent or sell it to recoup the costs of rehabilitation. Those in favor of the arrangement recognize the need for repairs on the property and hope renovating and then occupying the home is a means to that end. Those against the partner- ship with Preserve R.I. are imploring the town to invest its own money for the necessary repairs and to retain ownership, maintaining the house as a museum as it is now. Final say on whether or not to partner with Preserve R.I. goes to the Town Council, which has been work- ing with the nonprofit's executive director Valerie Talmage for months to explore various options for "setting the house on its next 300 years." According to Talmage, the roof is at the end of its life and there are mois- ture conditions in the basement. She said the home's siding needs repair and a fresh coat of paint, windows need fixing, and "active" rodents and insects need to be addressed. Inside, she said plaster is falling, ceilings, floors and walls need attention, and the home's electric, heating, plumb- ing and septic systems need upgrades. The home is not currently habitable. The original hope of the nonprofit was to follow the model used on the Chase Farmhouse, which Preserve R.I. is leasing from the town for free for a 10-year term. The nonprofit rehabbed the home, which had sat vacant since the 1980s, into two residential units. Rents from those apartments will help recoup the cost of renovations, and at the end of the ten-year lease the town will have a usable asset. Unfortunately, Talmage said, the numbers for that model won't work at Valentine Whitman, where renova- tions are expected to cost twice as much as the Chase Farmhouse, or an estimated $400,000 to bring it to a liv- able state. Two alternatives have been present- ed to the Town Council: • The first would rehabilitate the property and sell it to a private buyer under a preservation easement. Talmage said these easements "have teeth," giving the holder (in this case, Preserve R.I.) permission to monitor the property, visit at least annually with its owners, review and any all proposed changes to the home, and enforce the easement in court if neces- sary. • The second option would bring Time running out on Lincoln's oldest home By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer DOZENS OF RESIDENTS GATHERED in the Town Hall council chambers on Monday, June 10, to hear from Preserve Rhode Island about the possibility of the organization taking over control of the historic Valentine Whitman House from the town. Pictured, Preserve R.I. executive director Valerie Talmage explains the history and mission of the nonprofit. See WHITMAN HOUSE, Page 6 Dental Implants are changing the way people live. You Deserve to Smile with Confidence. David Ward, dmd & Samantha Ward, dmd 460 S. Main St., Woonsocket, RI To schedule an appointment call 401-762-2422 NO INSURANCE? We Offer In-Office Dental Payment Plans

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