I am writing in support of David Wald’s proposed development on Elm Arch Way.
First of all, I support conserving the historic buildings in town. I was one of many volunteers who donated their time and energy when the town galvanized to raise money and restore Highfield Hall. Second, this town has beautiful historic districts with fine examples of period architecture as well as the Museums on the Green, with the history of Falmouth on display for all to appreciate.
The Consider Hatch House, on the corner of Siders Lane and Main Street, is one of these beautiful historic homes. This house was one of Mr. Wald’s first projects in this town. The building was in good shape and he converted it into condos while preserving the architectural integrity.
The Elm Arch Inn, on the other hand, is a much older building with many structural issues, so to do anything with it will cost any buyer of the property an exorbitant amount of money just to bring it to code. Mr. Wald looked at trying to preserve the structure, and was told he would have to put in new stairways, as the present ones are too steep and narrow, and raise the ceiling because the ceiling height is too low, which means the second floor and ceilings would have to be heightened, so the roof would have to be raised, and then there is the wiring and plumbing, et cetera. So in the end, with all the extensive new construction of the infrastructure to bring the building to code, the Elm Arch Inn, in essence would no longer be the same building.
Mr. Wald’s condominium plan is well thought out and enhances Elm Arch Way. Some residents of the street are concerned about traffic, which is understandable. This plan will create less traffic than if the property remained an inn, as the people using the street would be only the people who live in the proposed condos.
It is unfortunate that the condos recently built across the street from the Elm Arch Inn lack imagination when it came to landscaping and the overall appearance of the structures. Mr. Wald’s plan, however, embraces the character of the street with buildings that look like they have always been there, and landscaping that enhances the property and breaks up the parking spaces.
Elm Arch Inn has been for sale for years. So why hasn’t anyone stepped forward to purchase and preserve it if it is so historically valuable? What were people waiting for? Now that Mrs. Richardson has a prospective buyer, some people are upset that someone will have to tear it down, just like what happened with the Nimrod.
It would be nice if we could conserve all historically significant buildings such as the Nimrod and Elm Arch Inn. However, they have been moved from their original locations, are privately owned, and need so much work and even more money to bring them to code.
Instead of lamenting the demise of these two structures, look at the historical homes we have that have been kept up well, and plan to keep it that way. The rich history of Falmouth will not be undone if we do not have a Nimrod or Elm Arch Inn.
Moira C. Powers