FALMOUTH — The town is reconsidering a plan to demolish a historic farmhouse and barn at Tidewater Farm.

Both buildings are vacant and in significant disrepair, but a recent tour of the property offered by the Falmouth Historical Society has some people wondering if the two structures can be saved and preserved.

The town recently purchased the 2-acre farmhouse lot from developer Nathan Bateman with the intent of turning it over to the Falmouth Land Trust for use as a headquarters, and for community programming and outreach.

Under the agreement with the trust, the town took on the responsibility and cost for tearing down the farmhouse and barn, which were believed to be beyond repair and uninhabitable.

When Bateman purchased the Tidewater Farm property more than a decade ago, with plans to create a mixed-use development of residential homes and commercial and office space, there was some belief that at least the barn could be saved.

But since then the two structures have continued to deteriorate, leaving town officials to believe they represent a safety hazard and should be removed.

Now, however, the Town Council has agreed to take one more step to see if the farmhouse and barn can be saved.

At their April 22 meeting councilors approved a proposal by Town Manager Nathan Poore to issue a request for qualifications for anyone who might be interested in moving, renovating or proposing an adaptive reuse of the two buildings.

In outlining the proposal, Poore said the council has expressed interest in finding out if it’s feasible “to salvage these buildings either by moving them to other locations and renovating them, or possibly by renovating them in place and repurposing them.”

But, he said, neither the town nor the land trust has any expertise in this area, which is why the RFQ is being issued.

Poore said the proposal to perhaps save the farmhouse and barn in no way impacts the town’s commitment to partnering with the land trust to locate a new headquarters at Tidewater Farm.

Under the RFQ, Poore said the town is seeking someone who could provide an evaluation of significant architectural elements, determine the feasibility of moving and/or renovating each building and developing adaptive reuse options. He said an estimate of the costs involved would also be needed.

Poore said the RFQ would be deliberately structured to “leave open the opportunity (for respondents) to be creative. We just don’t know what might be possible.”

Council Chairman Caleb Hemphill agreed and said, “it’s hard to know just what might come out of this. We may find something spectacular that’s worth consideration or we may find there’s no interest at all.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Under a new proposal, the town may try to save this historic farmhouse and barn at Tidewater Farm.

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