OTIS -- The Board of Selectman is taking steps that could eventually lead to the demolition of the abandoned East Otis Church along Old Blandford Road.

The latest development in the long-discussed town issue has the board requesting staff to have the pews at the church appraised and eventually removed. The board also has asked for the church bell and organ that have long been silenced to be salvaged from the derelict building.

The East Otis Church was first built in the early 1900s, Historical Commission Chairman Tom Ragusa said. At one time, the East Otis Church, which was previously used an a Baptist church, was a central fixture in Old East Otis, he said.

However, the church has been closed since the mid-1980s, according to Ragusa.

The church is so badly damaged, it's doubtful that repairs can save the building.

On Tuesday, Selectman Donald Hawley said that any renovation would cost "$300,000."

"It'd be cheaper to redo the whole thing," Hawley said.

Ragusa said that he wasn't ready to say goodbye to the building as chairman of the Historical Commission.

"[The commission] is set up to preserve and we have given every chance to follow that guideline," Ragusa said.

Henry Wingate, another member of the Historical Commission, said that was given a tour of the church at one time. He recalled a building in bad shape. There was a leak in the roof and the flooring had been damaged and foundation needed fixing.


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"It's been there for so long and the people are going to wonder what to do with it," Ragusa said.

To reach John Sakata:
jsakata@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 496-6240.