PORTSMOUTH — The wrecking ball isn’t coming down on just the former Elmhurst School, as it’s also eliminating this year’s Holly Ball and Holiday Open House at the Glen Manor House.
The Friends of the Glen Manor House announced Monday that the popular annual holiday festivies at the town-owned Glen Manor House will be cancelled for 2013 due to the demolition work going on immediately to the north on the former school.
“It would have been our 40th Holly Ball,” said Katie Wilkinson, resident manager of the Glen Manor House.
Additionally, the Authority has suspended rentals for private functions at the town-owned property from now through April 2014.
Finance Director Dave Faucher said the contract for the demolition job that the town has with JR Vinagro Corporation ends April 1.
“They started the asbestos removal. That’s the first step,” Mr. Faucher said, adding that he’s not sure when the actual demolition of the building will begin. “The window of opportunity from November to April was selected as having the least impact on the Glen Manor House operations.”
Added Town Administrator John Klimm, “We’re doing it within (the Authority’s) timetable, but it’s never a good time to do it.”
Ms. Wilkinson said the uncertainty of the demolition project — it’s still unclear how much of the school will be torn down — forced the Authority’s hand.
“We couldn’t take the chance of booking anything because of what’s going on next door,” she said, noting that the season’s last wedding was held Nov. 10 and the next rental is scheduled for May 3, 2014.
The Authority estimates that it will lose about $40,000 in revenue due to the suspension of rentals, she said, noting that about 75 percent of that amount would have gone to the town. “We usually have more weddings in November and we definitly have missed out in events in December and April as well,” she said.
Ms. Wilkinson wanted to make it clear that the Glen Manor House’s office is not shutting down, however.
“We’re still going to be here. We’re selling heavily into 2015. We’ll be showing the house,” she said.
The Friends of Glen Manor House is a private nonprofit organization of individuals dedicated to the restoration, preservation and maintenance of the Glen Manor House for the enjoyment of present and future generations of Portsmouth residents. Set on the banks of the Sakonnet River, the French Chateau is rented out for weddings, elegant affairs, corporate galas or private celebrations.
For more information, visit www.glenmanorhouse.com or call Ms. Wilkinson at 401/683-4177.