Board OKs repairs

HUDSON – After being left to the elements for many years, a historic barn and other buildings at the former Benson’s Wild Animal Farm will receive some attention.

Last week, the Board of Selectmen awarded three contracts for work to weatherize and stabilize several buildings at the former amusement park.

The contracts include $27,900 for Preservation Timber Framing Inc. to stabilize the barn. That work includes sealing off all the entrances such as windows and doors and removing some debris inside the barn.

The selectmen also awarded contracts for roofing repairs and work on a kitchen and train depot and for other work on those areas.

There is some asbestos abatement work also needed, Town Administrator Steve Malizia said. Some ceiling tiles need to be removed.

The total cost of the three contracts is $53,700. The money will come from a warrant article that voters approved last year setting aside $253,000 for the preservation and development of Benson’s property.

This month, work will begin removing a cupola on top of the Haselton Barn.

The cupola has been repaired in the past, but people working on the Benson’s project have said the structure was in disrepair and a safety problem.

It will take about two weeks to remove the cupola, Community Development Director Sean Sullivan said. Once it is taken off the building, the hole will be covered and the cupola stored in the barn.

Debris and garbage are being removed from the barn to make room for the cupola, Malizia said.

The land and buildings that made up the park have been left vacant for many years, falling prey to vandalism and the elements.

The park closed in 1989 and was later bought by the state Department of Transportation for wetland mitigation. The state has a memorandum of agreement with the town to sell the property.

The goal is to prevent the buildings from further deterioration so they can be restored later on, Malizia said.