Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 06-04-2020

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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8 CUMBERLAND JUNE 4-10, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION ing the work of town officials and the family that owns the property. Councilor Lisa Beaulieu also thanked those who worked through the process. Other properties in town have been demolished for various reasons, she said, adding that she's glad the town was able to protect this one and hopes someone will be "will- ing to restore it back to its original beauty." Councilor Scott Schmitt, who led the effort to approve the measure at the subcommittee level, questioned the idea of requiring the owner to turn in their demolition permit, say- ing he was concerned after two years of negotiations that the town was changing the terms of the agreement at the last minute. But Morris responded that this move "just cleans up the record" to ensure that there's no question about whether the owner could hypotheti- cally use the demolition permit after the home is in the historic district. "I'd hate to be arguing about whether they can demolish after they're in (the) historic district," she said. The property owner could still apply to demolish the building six months from now, she said, but would have to go through the Historic District Commission and make the argument that rehabilitation is economically infeasible. Councilor Peter Bradley asked about the possibility of a stipulation requiring that the property go back to a single house lot if the home is demolished, but Morris responded that would be next to impossible because the property will be legally split and could be owned by two dif- ferent owners, and you can't merge two owners' properties. Stevens noted that the property is already in the National Historic Register, and with local historic dis- trict approval, you "can't get more protection than that." The Breeze reported a month ago on the compromise recommended by the Planning Board to split the prop- erty into two lots to make it more financially feasible to restore the long- vacant home. Preserving the home, with its rare two-tiered southern style front porch, has become more of a priority since some of the town's other old homes have been demol- ished over the past couple of years, say officials. According to records, the house was probably standing when Lewis Tower purchased a 19-acre farmstead here from Philip Thomas in 1833. Some believe the upper level rear section, with its southern exposure, was the original house built in the 1700s, and the front of the house, with its unusual balcony, was built around 1825. Other accounts suggest the entire house was built at once. After the previous Breeze story, former tenant Paul Harnad said he and his family lived at what was at the time 2199 Mendon Road from 1973 to 1986, renting it from Ruth Creelman for $125 per month to start out. "It was a cold home in winter and as a result I burned five cords (of) hardwood and 500 pounds (of) coal in order to keep warm," he said. "The storm windows did not keep the cold out and there is no insulation either." Harnad said his family loved the home and he is pleased with the town's initiative to preserve it. He thanked Daniel Pedro from the Historic District Commission for his work to preserve the house, as well as the current owners, the Keefes, who also love the home. At the May 21 Zoning Board meet- ing where the dimensional variance needed to divide the property was approved, owner Paula Keefe stated that her late son Michael purchased the home in 2017 with the intention to subdivide the property so he could fund the restoration of the house, and he thought he had the land to do it because town records showed that there were 1.18 acres, or 51,400 square feet. But when he hired a surveyor to mark the boundaries of the property, it came back at 49,606 square feet, 394 square feet shy of the require- ment to divide it into two lots. With Michael now lost to cancer, she said it's her hope to subdivide the property so the family can fulfill Michael's wishes to restore the home. Keefe said she and Jeff Polucha have been cleaning up the yard and many people have stopped by and told a story about how familiar they are with the house. She said the house has been abandoned since the late 1980s and is in terrible shape, requiring an enormous amount of money to be invested in it. Everyone who has come forward to this point has walked away from it after taking a look at it, she said, or they would only be interested if the land is sub- divided. Keefe's son, Kevin, assured the board that his mother has a passion to get the project rolling and offer some closure to the project his broth- er started. He said the final product will add value to the town. HISTORIC DISTRICT From Page 3 Cumberland Library begins Virtual Summer Reading Program CUMBERLAND – Cumberland Public Library celebrates "Imagine Your Story," the 2020 Summer Reading Program, by offering sum- mer activities and games, with almost everything done virtually. Track your reading online, play games, complete missions, earn raf- fle tickets, donate to the Northern R.I. Food Pantry and Cumberland/ Lincoln Animal Shelter, and still be part of the library community from home. Children from birth through 5th grade are invited to enjoy virtual programs, story times, and several virtual performances this summer. Registration starts on Monday, June 15, online on the library's website at www.cumberlandlibrary.org or download the READsquared app on your phone or tablet. Some highlights include: Trivia Tuesdays for families (some for ages 16+), Quaran-Tween Time, two dif- ferent Grab and Go kits each week (a craft kit and a STEM kit), the popular "Dance with Me" program will be back, and the library will introduce Tele-Story, where you can call the library at 401-333-2552 and dial ext. 8 to hear a story. Information about registration for all virtual events will be avail- able at www.cumberlandlibrary. org beginning June 8. Families will receive access codes by email for the programs they register for. For additional information, contact the Children's Room at 401-333-2552, ext. 3, or email read@cumberland- library.org . Oil | Propane | Bioheat | Generators | Boiler Service 401.333.0665 Visit our new website: thmalloy.com THOMAS J. MALLOY SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT Benjamin Fogell Cumberland High School Class of 2020 In memory of Thomas J. Malloy Congratulations Class of 2020! From all of us who work for the Town, we are proud of all you have done and look forward to your continued success. Best of Luck! The Mayor's Office Do you know someone celebrating a July Birthday? The Valley Breeze Birthday Club for JULY will be printed on July 2, 2020. Forms should be received by The Valley Breeze by Friday, June 26, 2020. Send in the name of someone with his or her July birth date and $2 per edition and we'll include them in the club. The check should be made payable to The Valley Breeze for use in the Breeze charities fund. Mail to: The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Thank you! Greetings should be 10 words or less. Name: .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Date of Birth: ............................................................................................................................................ Age: .............................................................................. From: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Contact Phone Number (for questions, not publication) ................................................................................................................................................. Edition (please check): Cumberland/Lincoln edition ($2) Pawtucket edition ($2) Observer edition ($2) North Smithfield/Blackstone/Woonsocket edition ($2) North Providence edition ($2)

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