Environmental Study Underway on Eldredge Garage Property in Chatham

CHATHAM – Environmental testing is underway as Chatham Town Officials contemplate purchasing the Eldredge Garage Property on Main Street.

But a barn at the back of the property that dates back to the 1800s, needs to be torn down because the building has been deemed to be in poor condition by inspectors.

Although the building is historically significant, the town’s Historical Commission determined that the barn is beyond repair and it must be taken down.

A group of citizens and businesses are facilitating a deal for the town to purchase the land for public parking and open space.

“Throughout all these hearings, nobody’s argued about the historic value of the property itself, that’s never been an issue it’s just the matter of what can be done and what can be done practically,” said group member David Oppenheim.

Bennett Environmental is currently conducting testing on the property, looking for possible pollution from the former gas and service station uses.

It’s expected that the results will be ready by the end of this month or early next month, before Special Town Meeting on January 23, where voters will be presented with the opportunity to approve the town’s purchase of the property.

The fate of the former gas station and compressor buildings on the site will likely be determined by the new owner.

Oppenheim also suggested that the town look at considering a different warrant article on the property in the case that there is more clean-up or monitoring that needs to be done.

“Knowing that the town does not want to buy it with problems, it may be something that the town might want to consider negotiating is a lease with an option to buy, where the town is leasing it with no liability until, in fact, it meets the standards that the town would require,” said Oppenheim.

Selectmen are expected to hear more about the Eldredge Garage Property when they review special town meeting articles on December 20 and 27.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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