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Brooks House project takes a step forward

Town approves $100,000 community development loan for rebuilding historic Main Street block

BRATTLEBORO—Mesabi LLC, the investors behind rebuilding the Brooks House, checked two more boxes toward that project at the May 7 Selectboard meeting.

The board approved the terms for Mesabi’s loan with the town through the town’s Community Development Block Grant Program Income Fund. The $100,000 loan will be for 10 years at 3 percent interest.

“We are scrambling to have it all come together,” said Bob Stevens, one of Mesabi’s five principals, of funding the multimillion-dollar rehabilitation project.

A five-alarm fire ravaged the historic landmark in 2011, displacing 10 businesses and about 60 residents.

Mesabi has taken on the task of rehabilitating and repopulating the downtown building, which spans High and Main streets.

The board approved entering into the $100,000 loan Aug. 7, 2012.

Harmony Lot

The Selectboard also approved redrawing the property lot lines in the Harmony Parking Lot, situated behind the Brooks House and other properties facing High, Main, and Elliot streets.

A portion of the lot is owned by Brooks House LLC, and a portion is owned by the town.

Until two years ago, the town rented parking spaces from Jonathan Chase, the Brooks House’s current owner, until Mesabi formally purchases the building. The “tunnel” that allows pedestrians and cars to cut from High Street into the Harmony Lot is also owned by Brooks House LLC.

Sondag said the property line “zig-zags” through the parking lot. Straightening that boundary now, before Mesabi takes ownership of the Brooks House, will help in transferring the building to Mesabi.

As required by law, the town also will inform the public about the property change through a notice in local newspapers.

The public will have 30 days to respond.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #205 (Wednesday, May 29, 2013).

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