Mansfield Town Council affirmed Tuesday night the removal of the Mansfield General Store’s porches.
The porches are scheduled to be removed today after an inspector determined they needed repair and the owners were unable to secure the funds necessary to fix them.
“The property owners have indicated to us that they do not have the funds to repair the porches,” interim town manager Maria Capriola said. “Under the building code, if a property owner is unable to comply with the work that needs to be completed, we then have a responsibility to, in this case, remove the porches.”
Capriola said the council consulted with both the owners of the General Store and the building inspector throughout last summer to conclude the porches needed to be removed.
“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to be taking down a structure that was of such historical importance to this community, but at the same time wanted to make sure that we were acting within our legal authority and jurisdiction,” Capriola said.
Capriola said the council determined it would not be appropriate to spend town funds on repairing or replacing the porches.
General Store owner and building resident Neenah Shafer said they attempted to secure funding for the renovations.
“We tried to get a loan but were denied since we had already taken one out,” Shafer said. “We tried raising money and currently have around $8000, but we can’t get anymore than that.”
Shafer said the building is important to her, and she feels it is meaningful to Mansfield as well.
“We’ve owned the Mansfield General Store for 16 years. We love the historical district and that’s why we bought the building,” Shafer said. “We promised we would maintain it, preserve it and protect it. We love our building and all we’re trying to do is save it, but there’s not much more we can do.”
Shafer said she thanks the people who donated money to the porches’ repairs and will return that money to them.
The porches first came to the town’s attention after the council received a concern about their condition. A building inspector later determined they would need to be replaced or removed by Sept. 30.
Neenah and Kylah Shafer requested more time and the council granted them a 10-day extension. Neenah said she does not feel this was enough time to raise the necessary funds.
“All we can do at this point is thank the historical society for helping us with the process throughout the summer and thank the mayor for giving us an extension,” Neenah said.
The Mansfield General Store building is a designated historical building that was built in 1886. It is located at 534 Storrs Road in Mansfield.
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.