Bucksport councilor wants one more shot at saving historic Wilson Hall

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
The 177-year-old Wilson Hall of Bucksport has faced demolition many times since 2000. Since this picture was taken, part of its tilted cupola has been removed.
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Councilor Mark Eastman will discuss at the council meeting Thursday having Wilson Hall reassessed and forming a committee to determine whether the building should be saved or razed.
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A Bucksport town councilor wants to restart the clock on an effort to save a decrepit but historic former seminary.

Councilor Mark Eastman will discuss at the council meeting Thursday having Wilson Hall reassessed and forming a committee to determine whether the building should be saved or razed.

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“I just feel we should explore all options before we bring down a piece of history. That’s the biggest thing,” Eastman said Wednesday. “Marketing-wise there may be other avenues that we haven’t pursued with it.”

A former Methodist seminary building on Franklin Street, Wilson Hall predates the Civil War and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. But the building has fallen into disrepair despite efforts to repurpose it over the last 20 years. Its roof leaks, many of its supports are rotting, and the latest effort to convert it into an elder care facility failed for a lack of financing.

[Even its main advocate says it looks like the end for Bucksport’s historic Wilson Hall]

Councilors at a meeting last month expressed sympathy for the building’s plight, but also impatience. The town acquired it 11 years ago through a tax foreclosure. In 2014, the building came within a town councilor’s vote of being razed before residents raised $5,000 for partial repairs. Councilors said last month that no one had offered a definite plan to save the building.

Under Eastman’s proposal, the committee would have until September to develop a plan and funding sources for the building’s revival or demolition.

The council meets at the Bucksport Town Office at 7 p.m.

 



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