SOUTHINGTON – Town leaders are hoping to encourage farming at two town properties through plans for a barn, a farm stand and other improvements.
The town’s Farm Heritage Committee is working on a master plan that lays out projects for the Grosky property on the corner of Berlin and East streets and the Pleasant Street property.
For the Pleasant Street property, committee members said they’re hoping to provide four large areas for farming, space for nearby schools to conduct agricultural education, a new barn to replace those torn down and a learning center.
The Grosky property will continue to be hayed. Southington High School students are building a farm stand that is nearly finished and will provide a retail outlet for local produce.
“We’ve already had people approaching us about using the stand,” said Chris Palmieri, chairman of the Farm Heritage Committee and the Town Council. “We want it to be a community stand that we would loan out to members of the community.”
The existing Grosky barn, which lacks water and electricity, is used to store hay. Palmieri said it will come down once the new barn on Pleasant Street is built.
Michael Riccio, a council member, said he believes the barn can be saved with community support.
“There’s not much heritage in new construction,” he said. “I definitely am not in favor of tearing down the Grosky barn… It does not need to be torn down.”
Riccio said he’s been in the restoration business for 20 years and didn’t see the building’s challenges as insurmountable.
Palmieri said fixing it would be expensive. The barn dates back to the 1970s. The town’s building and engineering department recommended tearing it down.
“Could it be saved? Yes. It’s a question of the investment versus the value of it,” Palmieri said.
Ed Pocock III, a committee member, said preserving farm heritage was about keeping agricultural work going in town and not about maintaining every structure. He said getting the barn to a point where it would be useable would be difficult.
“I would love to preserve that barn,” Pocock said. “It’s hard for me to be able to say, ‘It’s got to go.’”
His foundation, the J. Allen Lamb and Edward S. Pocock III Foundation, helped fund the purchase of materials for the farm stand. Other materials were donated by local companies.
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