Monday, November 9, 2015

Stoughton MA Officials Make Case to Buy Train Station

STOUGHTON – Joseph Mokrisky, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, stated his case to residents Saturday as to why the town should purchase the old train station on Wyman Street.

“This is our last opportunity to save a piece of history in Stoughton,” Mokrisky said. “Looking at everything that’s here, to lose it is crazy.”

Mokrisky is one of the local officials leading a campaign to convince voters to authorize selectmen to spend $350,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to purchase the 127-year-old station from the MBTA. Residents will vote on this issue at this month’s special town meeting.

An additional $350,000 in Community Preservation Act money is being sought by town officials to rehabilitate parts of the station’s exterior.
On Saturday, Mokrisky and other supporters of the project held an open house at the old station to allow residents to take a look inside the building, which opened in 1888 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Arched wooden ceilings, an ornate fireplace and a vintage aesthetic are among the most striking features inside the building. However, disuse and disrepair have taken hold in some areas, as evidenced by a layer of dust and grime that covers the floors and the weathered look of many of the items remaining in the building.

“The building has been vacant for close to 10 years,” said Forrest Lindwall, a member of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority. “In the past, it was an active railroad station. They basically closed down the whole waiting room years ago and just sold tickets.”

Eventually, the ticket stand was no longer needed as residents could purchase tickets on the commuter rail trains that run past the station and the building was closed.

However, Mokrisky said he believes the building could be reopened with a little work.

“Ninety-nine percent of the woodwork in here is clean,” Mokrisky said. “When you look at the building, it’s steel and solid stone. It’s not going anywhere.”

Mokrisky said money for repairs would be used to seal the building, as some of the wood on the building’s exterior near the windows has begun to rot, and the mortar between the stones has been worn away in places.

Mokrisky said he fears the building will be sold and the new owner will open a business that doesn’t fit the structure’s historic character. However, some residents want to be assured the town can find a tenant before they approve to buy the property.

There have been discussions about opening a combined bookstore/coffee shop in the old train station or moving the local post office’s retail operations into the building, Mokrisky said, adding that before the town can make those decisions it must buy the building.

“It’s a historic building, and we want to bring it back to a positive use,” he said.

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