The state has a piece of land and historic farmhouse in Bolton that it wants to sell, but not for the price bidders have been willing to pay thus far. The land, known as the Lafreniere homestead, is currently part of Camel's Hump State Park.
In the July edition of the town's newsletter, The Bolton Gazette, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Land Director Mike Fraysier said his department rejected the only two bids received on the homestead. Now the property is being re-advertised with a new minimum bid.
"Unfortunately, neither of the proposals came close to meeting the Department’s financial objectives in selling the property," Fraysier wrote. "Specifically, neither bid would cover the Department’s expenses incurred in this project to date and would leave no money available to the Department to undertake additional needed barn stabilization efforts."
In 2013 the state relocated a barn that was part of the homestead property, but is not being offered as part of the sale. The barn, which is prominently depicted on the Bolton town seal, remains part of Camel's Hump State Park.
Fraysier continued, "The Department has rejected these bids and has decided to re-advertise this property in hopes of attracting other potential buyers ... We have also established a minimum bid of $80,000 for this property."
This will be the third time the property has gone out to bid. Last year the state unsuccessfully put the property up for sale with a minimum bid of the appraised value of $126,000 for the house and 30 acres. This spring the sate waived the minimum bid requirement when it set a second bid deadline of June 10.
The 1820s-era farmhouse is listed on on both the national and state registers of historic sites. The state's original bid document states, "Five generations of the Preston family lived and worked on the property, from the time John Preston purchased it in the 1790s until Bertha Preston-Lafreniere died in 1984. The roughly 460 acres of the entire Preston-Lafreniere property were acquired by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation in 1991 as an addition to Camel’s Hump State Park through a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Since 1991, minimal maintenance has occurred on the farm house and it now requires extensive rehabilitation, including septic, water, heating, electrical, and plumbing upgrades."
The state notes the property comes with restrictions "that prohibit further subdivision and development of the property and protect the open space and historic character of the property." The new bid deadline is September 30. On September 1 the state will hold an open house at the property.