Local artist Adele Sanborn to relocate old Boscawen town-offices building, transform it into studio

Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2014
For years, Boscawen town officials have looked for ways that the old town-offices building at 17 High St. could be reused.

Local artist Adele Sanborn has finally helped them find a solution.

Sanborn, a mixed media artist living in Boscawen and working in Webster, plans to move the building to the property on King Street she owns with her husband, Roger, and transform it into her studio and gallery space.

“We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the building for some time,” said Land Use Coordinator Alan Hardy.

The old building currently shares a plot with the old police station and the town fire station, which is still in use.

“The selectmen made the decision that they wanted the land in case the fire department ever wanted to expand,” Hardy said. “What the town wanted was the land without anything on it.”

Since the town offices moved to their current space in 2003, the town has tried to find reliable tenants for the old building. A doctor’s office and retail operations have occupied the building, which has been empty for more than two years.

“Being a landlord is not something towns normally do, and it’s not necessarily something we’re good at,” Hardy said.

When it initially tried to sell it, the town found no takers. The cost of relocating the building drove potential buyers away, Hardy said.

“We talked to several people about it and hadn’t gotten anywhere,” he said. “So then Roger and Adele were talking about building their building and asked if the offer was still open on the office. They had the conversation with the other selectmen and moved over from there.”

The Sanborns received planning board site approval Monday and the selectmen approved the sale Wednesday. The sale price of the building was not immediately available. The Sanborns will likely be asked to move the concrete foundation and pay to transport it to a quarry where it will be broken down and reused.

In the long term, the town will likely demolish the old police station, leaving more space if the fire department ever needs it. “That’s the goal – having the land available for the fire department,” Hardy said.

(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or iwilson@cmonitor.com.)