ESSEX — The Folsom Pavilion at Centennial Grove will be torn down.

While there is no plan in place to replace the historic structure, Selectwoman Ruth Preen said it will be discussed at the next selectmen's meeting. 

At their meeting on Monday, selectmen voted in favor of requesting an emergency demolition of the pavilion, a "structurally unsound" safety hazard, according to Essex building inspector's office. As of Wednesday afternoon, no set date had been set for the building to be raised. 

The vote was originally supposed to include a motion that would require the town to pursue options for a replacement structure. Preen had been in contact with Historical Commission Chairman Nathaniel Crosby about the group's desire  to have a follow-up plan in writing before any demolition occurred.

"Our concern as a commission is whether or not it should be saved," Crosby told the Times. "It's whether if it is demolished and there's no plans for a follow-up project, it's much more likely to get forgotten about and people will forget how they used the Grove."

Preen said she had planned on delivering the motion for a replacement at the meeting. She said a recent study estimated the project would cost around $250,000. 

"We'd then look at Fall Town Meeting for funding for a design," she said. "History needs to be preserved by resurrecting a new pavilion."

Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen emergency hours before the meeting,, Preen was unable to attend. Due to open meeting laws, she never relayed the nature of her conversations with the Historical Commission to her fellow selectmen.

"I've emailed (Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki) and said we need to have this discussion on April 26," the next scheduled selectmen's meeting, said Preen.

The Folsom Pavilion was originally built in 1876. In 2016, NETCO, the construction firm that worked on the Town Hall renovation, estimated a full renovation of the building would cost around a $500,000. The following year, a request for proposals to rehabilitate Centennial Grove, including the pavilion and its historic youth program center, restrooms and parking, was released. The project found no bidders.  

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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