SANDOWN – After months of back and forth, the board of selectmen and Sandown historical society have agreed to a document that governs the society’s use of the Train Depot museum. Representation from both groups say they are looking forward to improving their relationship.
The two groups have historically had a good working relationship but disagreements and miscommunication over what should be included in a landlord/tenant style agreement for the building have put the two groups at odds over the last several months.
During that time the selectmen have lauded the society for improvements to the building, grounds and collection.
With diplomatic help from former Historical Society president Doug Martin, the two groups seem back on track.
The board decided last year that it wanted to spell out the terms under which the society utilized the train depot museum in a basic lease style document. The society had used the building to run its museum for decades, but informally, with a handshake and a “gentleman’s agreement.” But with concerns over potential improvements to the building coming down the line, the selectmen decided they wanted a more formal setup.
Following repeated meetings between the two groups that failed to produce a signed agreement, the selectmen became frustrated and earlier this month gave the society seven days, until Wednesday, March 12, to sign a selectmen-created document or turn in their keys to the town-owned building. While the document wasn’t signed by March 12, there was communication between the two groups before the deadline and by the following day, the two groups had reached an informal agreement.
On Monday, March 17, the selectmen signed a document that both sides had agreed to. They sent it on to the society for signatures.
Martin was in attendance Monday and said the progress the two groups had made was good and that he thought both sides were comfortable with the final document.
That document is the selectmen-generated version but with one extra sentence, indicating that the board will inform the society of any impending changes to the building. It’s a sentence that reiterates information in a previous paragraph and as such, the selectmen had no issue with the addition.
Acting chair Hans Nicolaisen said he was glad Martin had aided in bringing both parties together. He said he was looking forward to putting the matter behind them and continuing with what has long been a good relationship.
Martin echoed those thoughts, saying that the society was also looking forward to putting the matter behind them and continuing with the work it has long done, the preservation and showcase of the town’s rich history.
In other business Monday night:
Neither of the two newly elected selectmen, Steve Brown and Cynthia Buco, were available for Monday night’s meeting. Brown was ill, although he was watching from home and called into the local access cable channel once to relay his views on a matter, and Buco had a prior commitment made before she was elected.
Reorganization of the board was postponed until the full board could be present.