Milton Historical Society Says It Is Staying Put, Despite Possible Alternative

Feb 29, 2016

When Milton voters go to the polls on Town Meeting Day, they'll be asked to consider purchasing the Bombardier homestead, next door to the municipal office complex. But despite the seller's good intentions, the town historical society says it doesn't want to move there.

The article on the Town Meeting ballot asks voters to approve borrowing up to $390,000 to purchase the house, barn and just under 5 acres of land at 57 Bombardier Rd. The town has already purchased much of the surrounding land from the Bombardier family.

In January, the town signed a purchase and sales agreement on the property, pending the Town Meeting vote. A Jan. 20 article in the Milton Independent stated, "The current owner, Ruth Bombardier, said her late husband, Bert, dreamt of selling the remainder of his land for the public good. The municipal complex sits on the Bombardiers’ original 155 acres, deeded in 1981, land records show."

The article went on to describe the purchase and sales agreement saying, "The agreement details the Bombardiers’ wishes for the property, which include converting her house and century-old barn for the Milton Historical Society museum and building a larger senior and/or youth center on the property, as the current one’s capacity is maxed out."

This was news to the Milton Historical Society. The society sent out an e-newsletter stating, "... there was an article outlining the town's tentative agreement to purchase the remaining Bombardier property. A line item linking that purchase to plans with the historical society took us all by surprise, including our Board members. The Society was not engaged in any discussions with the town leading up to this agreement."

In response, the society held a special board meeting with Town Manager Donna Barlow Casey. The e-newsletter continued, "In that meeting, she explained that the idea of the museum moving to that property was expressed as a wish by Mrs. Bombardier but is not part of the purchase agreement. The board is in agreement that while the Society may take a role in advising on the historic barn and its possible future conversion as a space for public use, there are no plans to move the museum to that space."

Barlow Casey echoed that sentiment in a letter to the editor published in the Milton Independent. She went on to write, "As a result, if voters support the purchase of this property by the town, I envision that we will engage with Milton residents, businesses and organizations in a process to gather ideas and comments before a final decision is made on use. Site surveys and other tests and considerations will also need to be undertaken before final decisions can be arrived at."