To the editor: Chester Historical Society is upholding lease

Letters to the editor logoAt the Chester Select Board meeting on April 6, 2016, Dan Cote, a recently elected select board member, made some insinuations about the Chester Historical Society and the Academy Building which it leases from the Town of Chester. To wit, he implied that the 15-year lease of the building should be reviewed (the insinuation being that it should be revoked) because the building is not being maintained, nor is it available to the general public at all times.

I would like to advise Selectman Cote that the lease was made in good faith and has been upheld in good faith by the Chester Historical Society. The building has been in continual use by the historical society and has been made available to the public as a museum, a meeting place and a research station and repository for Chester history and artifacts ever since the lease was issued.

Mr. Cote seems to have an agenda to commandeer the building for uses not recommended or feasible for it. I would also like to remind him and the selectboard that the historical society has been working harmoniously with the town, which owns the building, to begin repairs on the roof, make the building handicapped acceptable and continue, according to the historical preservation mandates, to make the needed upgrades to the building. This is an ongoing process which any lessee would be obliged to uphold.

Furthermore, in case Mr. Cote’s tenure in Chester postdated some of the Chester Historical Society programs and ongoing events which made the building and the Town of Chester a celebrated focus of statewide and national attention, he may want to research this issue before he casts aspersions.

Francine Provost
North Springfield

Chester Historical Society Member

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