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New Warren group looks to save threatened buildings

By   /   August 15, 2013  /   Be the first to comment

A new organization in Warren is trying to preserve the old riverfront town’s past, one building at a time.

The Warren Heritage Foundation was formed in the spring, and will hold its first fund-raiser in early September (see sidebar). Though Warren has its share of historic-minded groups, those behind the new venture say there’s a clear need for the foundation alongside the Warren Preservation Society and the Massasoit Historical Association.

“We’re really more focused on preservation and protection of bricks and mortar,” said Nick Heywood, one of the non-profit’s trustees.

The need has been highlighted in recent months by the near loss of St. Mark’s Church. but he said there are many other buildings in town that could benefit from the foundation’s goal: To raise money, through grants and donations, to preserve threatened buildings.

“It’s an overall problem,” Mr. Heywood said. “One of the major worries is that many of our public buildings are not doing very well, like some of our churches. We have very low church membership, and it’s just a pity to see these structures becoming obsolete. The plan is to try to soften that transition from ecclesiastical use to public use.”

Though the WHF doesn’t plan to focus on any one building, Mr. Heywood said the Methodist church on Church Street is a likely structure to address in the early stages.

As membership dwindles and the structure ages, upkeep costs are going up just as the endowment shrinks. One goal of the WHF will be to have a structural assessment done on the building and hopefully provide a plan to bring the 180-year-old church, the tallest structure in the East Bay, into the future. From that point, there are plenty of other projects to tackle, he said.

“We have this central goal right now, but the idea is we would take on other projects as well,” he said. The foundation “is more of an overall approach on how we deal with these very real issues.”

Fund-raiser

The Warren Heritage Foundation’s first event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the 30 State St. home of Alexander Scott. Billed as an “Evening of Gypsy Jazz and Oysters” with wine, beer and fine hors d’ouevres, live music and dancing. Tickets are $75. To learn more, or to buy tickets, see www.warrenheritagefoundation.org. Or visit Dish at 155 Water St., by Sunday, August 25.

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