Bridgewater residents vote to keep town control over grange hall, paving way for demolition

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

BRIDGEWATER — The fate of the Bridgewater Grange Hall is sealed — the town will retain ownership of the property.

On Thursday night, by a hand counted paper vote of 155 to 89, enough residents have shown they don’t want the Bridgewater Preservation Association to take ownership of the Grange Hall, a historic landmark in town, at 11 Main Street South.

The vote pertains to the ongoing dispute between the town and a group called The Bridgewater Preservation Association over whether the grange hall should be renovated or torn down.

About 250 people came out to the two-hour annual town meeting at Sarah Sanford Road East, where the vote took place.

Several people spoke at the meeting, including First Selectman Curtis Read and Lisa Burns, secretary of the BPA.

“The building is in really tough shape,” Read said, prior to the vote. “Let’s take it down. The building isn’t useful to the town.”

Read instead spoke of his idea to build a community center with a lot more space than the Grange has, he said.

“There’d be room to have a meeting where you’d have 200 or 225 people. We can envision as selectmen a place where you can have a reception, a dance, a lecture, or an art show,” he said. “This would become a building that we could use 12 months out of the year. It would be nice to have a building like that.”