Town plans to raze Prospect Grange Hall

The Prospect Grange Hall on Center Street in Prospect has been closed since early 2017. Officials are seeking bids to abate any hazardous materials in the building and demolish it. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

PROSPECT — The town is moving forward with plans to tear down the Prospect Grange Hall.

The town-owned building sits on Center Street facing the Town Green. The town closed the building after the Prospect Community Center at the former Community School across the street from the hall opened in early 2017.

The building, which is in disrepair, hasn’t been used since the community center opened. The wear and tear to the building is evident. The concrete steps that lead up to the front door are breaking away from the foundation and cracks can be seen in the foundation.

The Town Council voted at its Jan. 21 meeting to issue a request for proposals for a contractor to assess the building for any hazardous materials, abate any hazardous materials and demolish the building.

“At this moment, it’s just in shambles,” council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said about the building following the meeting. “It’s in a bad situation.”

The cost of demolition will depend on how much hazardous materials are in the building, which is unknown.

Once the town receives proposals for the work, Mayor Robert Chatfield said he will present them to the council along with a recommendation on how to pay for it.

The steps leading up to the front door of the Prospect Grange Hall on Center Street in Prospect are breaking away from the foundation.  –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

The hall was a central part of the town when Prospect was a farming community. The original hall was built in 1894. The present building was rebuilt in 1950, according to the property card, after a fire destroyed it. Until the 1970s, the hall hosted an annual fair that included agricultural displays and music.

The Prospect Grange transferred ownership of the building to the town in the mid-1990s. The town used it for a variety of activities, including programs for Prospect Youth Services.

The building sits on a 0.32-acre parcel of land. What will be done with the property after the hall is razed is undecided.

Council member Megan Patchkofsky said the town needs to include the public in the discussion about future uses of the land.

“If we’re going to start the demo process, I think we need to start the next phase process, as well,” she said.

Chatfield said when the council can hold a hearing to discuss potential future uses for the site when the town receives proposals for the abatement and demolition work.