Westborough Selectmen reject offer to save historic Spurr House

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By Andrew Strecker, Senior Community Reporter

The Spurr House
File photo/Bonnie Adams

Westborough – The Westborough Board of Selectmen rejected a single $115,000 bid that would have saved a historic property located at 7 Parkman St. from a date with the wrecking ball by a vote of five to zero.

The Spurr House, built in 1849 and owned by the town of Westborough since the Forbes family donated the house to the town in 1933, will most likely be turned into a parking lot. The property had been appraised at $250,000. The American Legion previously used the home as a meeting place, but it has been unoccupied since 2014.

“I’m really sorry we that we ended up in this situation and didn’t get a higher bid,” said Selectman Leigh Emery at the January selectmen’s meeting.

The property is located directly behind the Forbes Municipal Building, 45 W. Main St., which is currently undergoing a $15 million renovation. The building normally houses the Police Department, school administration, Youth and Family Services and other town offices.

Selectman George Barrette rejected the bid based on it not being consistent with recommendations made at Town Meeting.

Selectman Denzil Drewry said, “We all thought it could be done,” but continued, “We do need parking, so I am in favor of [the vote].”

Eight options for the property had been explored, from razing part or all of it to selling it to a buyer who would move it. Keeping the house in town hands was ruled out when it was estimated to cost $500,000 to $750,000 to keep it up to current code.

When asked to comment, the Westborough Historical Commission said via email: “We are disappointed that the Board of Selectmen seems to be moving forward with the plan to turn the Spurr House into a parking lot instead of finding a use for it that might contribute to the town’s revenues.”

Tania and Bob Pano have lived next door to the Spurr House for 48 years. Bob Pano was part of a five-member committee appointed at the 2015 Town Meeting to develop recommendations for the ultimate disposition of the house. The Panos had hoped the building could be saved.

“All we know is it’s going to be demolished,” he said. “Meanwhile, we accept the inevitable. We gave it a try to save it in a legitimate fashion, and we feel good about that. We’re accepting of the ruling.

“We hope the construction of a parking area, or whatever is going to become of it, will have respect for the neighbors,” he continued. “We’re assuming, and have been promised, it will be done in good taste. If they don’t follow through on that, they can be sure they’ll be seeing us again.”