The abandoned, early 20th-century brick building at 29 Church St. in New Milford may soon be restored from its state of neglect to a business place.

The town, which owns the property, has received the first seemingly viable offer to buy it in many years, officials said recently.

Mayor Patricia Murphy was given permission by the Town Council to commence negotiations for a sale of the building, which has been boarded up and vacant for about 15 years.

The mayor said she could not supply any details about the potential buyers or what the building would become other than a type of business.

"It's worth preserving,'' Mayor Murphy said of the building.

Any sale of town property would require Town Council approval and then a town meeting, or referendum, to allow residents to approve or reject the offer.

Church Street merchant Joan Tomlinson said it would be "a wonderful thing'' for the building to be "put to good use.''

She said she knows of other towns where such buildings are transformed into multi-vendor establishments that attract craftsmen.

The downtown has plenty of restaurants, but a brewery or something else "a little different'' would be a nice addition, she said.

"It's worth preserving.''

Pat Murphy

New Milford mayor