THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

Letting go of the past: White Cliffs prevents potential growth for Northborough

Built+in+1880%2C+White+Cliffs+mansion+stands+at+167+Main+Street%2C+Northborough.+It+was+used+for+years+as+a+function+facility%2C+but+faced+the+prospect+of+demolition+in+2015.+On+April+25%2C+the+house+was+saved+from+destruction+at+the+2016+Northborough+Town+Meeting+when+it+was+purchased+with+Northborough+Community+Preservation+Fund+revenues.++
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Letting go of the past: White Cliffs prevents potential growth for Northborough

Built in 1880, White Cliffs mansion stands at 167 Main Street, Northborough. It was used for years as a function facility, but faced the prospect of demolition in 2015. On April 25, the house was saved from destruction at the 2016 Northborough Town Meeting when it was purchased with Northborough Community Preservation Fund revenues.

Built in 1880, White Cliffs mansion stands at 167 Main Street, Northborough. It was used for years as a function facility, but faced the prospect of demolition in 2015. On April 25, the house was saved from destruction at the 2016 Northborough Town Meeting when it was purchased with Northborough Community Preservation Fund revenues.

Harbinger Archive

Built in 1880, White Cliffs mansion stands at 167 Main Street, Northborough. It was used for years as a function facility, but faced the prospect of demolition in 2015. On April 25, the house was saved from destruction at the 2016 Northborough Town Meeting when it was purchased with Northborough Community Preservation Fund revenues.

Harbinger Archive

Harbinger Archive

Built in 1880, White Cliffs mansion stands at 167 Main Street, Northborough. It was used for years as a function facility, but faced the prospect of demolition in 2015. On April 25, the house was saved from destruction at the 2016 Northborough Town Meeting when it was purchased with Northborough Community Preservation Fund revenues.

Ainsley Cerny, Staff Writer

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I will admit that I, like others, often catch myself staring towards the hill on which the colossal mansion known as White Cliffs is perched, and I wonder what it may have looked like about a hundred years ago. Whether I catch a glimpse on a walk or just happen to be driving by on Route 20, it’s always there, but in a town with a population increase of about a hundred per year, there is no use for an abandoned mansion, especially not one the town is paying for.

One might try to describe the building as “historic,” but a building cannot be historic if it is not preserved. As of today, White Cliffs is a property with very little, if any maintenance. Because of the size and condition of the estate, the little maintenance that is in place is costly. There is no reason for the town to use citizens’ tax money to save a building that can almost be deemed unsavable. For the building to be completely saved, millions of town dollars would have to be sacrificed for repairs, and it is not a fair price to pay. The town bought the building in 2016 for $2.4 million, not including the future maintenance and repair prices that would need to be paid for later.

White Cliffs sits on about 6.5 acres of wasted space and with more and more entrepreneurs starting their dream jobs, the need for space has begun. A pretty building isn’t going to get the bills paid, but more job opportunities may help.

The property is about a four-minute drive from Algonquin Regional High School, so if it were replaced with small businesses, students looking to make some extra cash during the summer or before they go to college can find a convenient job especially for students who cannot yet drive. The space that is now occupied by the mansion holds the possibility of a local grocery store or a bakery. I happen to live around the school and I can say that having more job opportunities nearby would be a change for the better.

For those who may be against the idea of building up our quiet town, another suggestion would be to turn the land into a public park. It could provide a home for birds and squirrels and allow space for children to run or families to picnic.

Think of a tree if it helps. A big dead tree in the middle of a garden. If the tree were to be taken down, there would be space and freedom for the much-needed daisies and pansies to grow. There is no need for a big old tree if it brings no one joy Is it worth keeping the dead old tree when it costs you so much, or would it be better to replace it with the daisies and the pansies that will benefit you?

So, I ask you, is White Cliffs really worth it? Well, to add icing to the cake, the property has not been in use for a few years now and based on the amount of time that it takes the town to make big decisions, it doesn’t look like it will be open any time soon.

The White Cliffs Mansion seems to put Northborough in a difficult situation, but in all honesty, the building needs to be taken down. We are a town who likes to hold on to the past, but we need to learn to let go.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Letting go of the past: White Cliffs prevents potential growth for Northborough”

  1. A Harris on January 28th, 2019 8:24 am

    You are more than correct. It was stupid for the town to buy this monstrosity and the amount of money that is needed just to make it work could have gone into a million other important items. But now Northborough is saddled with its bad decision and so more tax dollar needs to be thrown at it to save face. Other than a marker of where one lives in relation to the building, no one but those who grew up with having it around really cares.

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Letting go of the past: White Cliffs prevents potential growth for Northborough